Excerpts from the late Alan Rickman’s journal offer an intimate look into the actor’s life and career, including his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.
Alan Rickman’s journal, which spans 25 years of his life, will be published as a book, Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman on October 4. In excerpts published in The Guardian, Rickman shared entries about his desire to exit the Harry Potter series as the complicated double agent Severus Snape in 2002, one month after the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
As early as 2002, Rickman was contemplating leaving the franchise and the question came up again for him in 2006, after surgery for his prostate cancer. In 2006, he finally decided to continue with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, thanks to his opinion of: “See it through. It’s your story.”
Recounting one of the biggest plot twists of the Harry Potter franchise, Rickman gave his opinion about Snape’s death, noting that he had always known about Snape’s unrequited love for Harry’s mother, Lily Potter (née Evans). Snape and Lily had been childhood friends, but their friendship had come to an end in their fifth year at Hogwarts when Snape had called Lily a Mudblood after being humiliated by James Potter and his friends.
Rickman wrote in a July 2007 entry: “I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book. Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus.”
While Harry and Snape never had a good relationship, particularly since Harry resembled his father so closely, Snape always did whatever he could to protect Harry, for Lily’s sake. In one of Snape’s memories that Harry sees in the Pensieve in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore asks Snape, “After all this time?” to which Snape replies the iconic line, “Always.”
“This was a genuine rite of passage,” the entry continued. “One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.”
While the rest of the actors never knew more about their characters than what had already been revealed, Rickman knew, years before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, that Snape was a double agent and that he had always loved Lily. JK Rowling had told him that to aid in his portrayal of the antagonistic wizard and I’m sure we can all agree that Rickman did an excellent job at hiding that secret from all the fans who were stunned by the reveal in the last book of the series!
The publishing house Canongate will release the book, set to feature stories from the sets of some of Rickman’s biggest films and stage productions. Rickman died from pancreatic cancer in 2016. He was 69. “I’m delighted that Canongate will be publishing Alan’s diaries, and couldn’t have wished for a finer appointment of editor than Alan Taylor,” Rickman’s widow, Rima Horton, said in a statement at the time.
Horton added, “The diaries reveal not just Alan Rickman the actor, but the real Alan – his sense of humor, his sharp observation, his craftsmanship and his devotion to the arts.”
To this day, the actors involved in the Harry Potter franchise love and miss Alan Rickman; in the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts reunion on HBO Max, the actors raised their wands for the deceased contributors to the Harry Potter franchise, including Alan Rickman.
To this day, Rickman’s contributions to the acting world and the Wizarding World are tremendous. Let’s raise our wands to the fallen actor who had such an incredible career and is still giving us amazing insight to his life, all these years later.