When the news broke on Thursday that Alan Rickman had passed away at the age of 69, the only thing the world could seem to do was grieve and wish for some sort of Harry Potter-esque plot twist to appear that would bring him back into our lives. Or, barring that, some spell that would do the same. Instead, fans grieved the loss of Rickman in the best way that they knew how: On Twitter and other social media platforms, coming together to express their feelings of loss over the beloved actor’s death. One fan asked J.K. Rowling on Twitter if, in the wake of Rickman’s passing, the acclaimed author would finally reveal the secret she told Rickman about Severus Snape. And the author, in a move that broke everyone’s heart a little bit more, finally revealed the secret she had told Alan Rickman and nobody else.
It was only a few years ago that Rickman told HitFlix that Rowling had given him a bit of information about Snape that no one else knew while she was still writing the books. Remember: When she told Rickman this secret, only three or four books had been published at the time. Only Rowling knew what plot twists and turns awaited the Potter world, and she took the opportunity to tell Rickman one of them when he was preparing to play the part of Severus Snape.
Since Rickman revealed that Rowling had told him something that nobody else knew, the world has wondered what that bit of information could be. And, on Monday, at the request of a fan on Twitter, Rowling finally revealed what that information was. In a tweet dated January 18th, Rowling wrote, “I told Alan what lies behind the world ‘always’.”
Well break my heart even more why don’t you. Fans of Harry Potter will of course remember that “always” is the word that Snape uses to describe his never-ending love for Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, at the end of the series. Which means that Alan Rickman knew that Severus Snape was in love with Lily Potter long before the rest of the world knew. And the fact that Rowling let the world know on Monday what that secret was between them absolutely breaks my heart.
Fans reacted the same way, tweeting that, while they were happy to know the secret that the two kept between them, the information made them all the more sad about Rickman’s passing.
Rowling engaged with her fans then and said she knows exactly how they feel.
All of this feels like too much to take, really. But I love the fact that Rowling honored Rickman—and his fans—by sharing that little secret that he had and no one else did.