J.K. Rowling Reveals How She Told ‘Harry Potter’ Star Alan Rickman About Character’s Big Secret

JK Rowling has shared the conversation she had with actor Alan Rickman, when she revealed to him the true complications of his character in the Harry Potter movies.

Rickman played Severus Snape, Harry’s teacher and apparent tormentor who eventually turns out to be working for good forces, including protecting Harry against the likes of Voldermort and his acolytes.

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Rowling has recorded an interview for her website, answering fans’ questions about her writing process, with a preview transcribed in today’s Times of London. In it, she describes how Rickman was confused about the motivations of his character before she explained them to him. She revealed:

He rang me up and said, ‘Look, I’m spinning plates here. I really need to understand what Snape’s up to? Am I a pure baddie?’ He was the only person I told: ‘You were in love with Harry’s mother.’

“I talked him through it: ‘You are a double agent. But you do dislike Harry. You can’t overcome your quite visceral dislike of this boy who looks just like your arch enemy.’ So I told Alan Rickman what was coming, way before it came in the movies.”

Rickman, who died in 2016, played Snape in all eight of the movies of the bestselling book series. Snape was one of several main figures to be eventually killed off, and Rowling shared her distress at having to do away with characters she had created:

“I don’t like killing off characters, but it’s part of life, isn’t it? Killing Snape was awful. I always knew he was going to go. I couldn’t bear killing Lupin and Tonks [Harry’s teacher and his wife], that was so sad. Oh and Fred [Weasley].”

Rowling says she currently has two books left to write in her hit detective Cormoran Strike series, and six books in her head in total. She is the bestselling author in the world, with reported sales of 600million books.

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