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J.K. Rowling reveals the 'Harry Potter' secret she told Alan Rickman about Severus Snape

Following the death of Alan Rickman last week, J.K. Rowling reveals the secret she shared with the "Harry Potter" actor to help him portray Professor Severus Snape.
/ Source: TODAY

When Alan Rickman died following a battle with cancer last Thursday at the age of 69, the world saw an outpouring of sadness from fans and friends of the actor.

Many took to social media to commemorate Rickman, including his co-stars from the "Harry Potter" films, adaptations of J.K. Rowling's magical novels. Notably, Daniel Radcliffe shared his thoughts about Rickman on Google Plus, Rowling and co-star Emma Watson tweeted their messages, and "Harry Potter" fans tweeted iconic images from the films.

As "Harry Potter" fans uncomfortably settle into the idea of a world without their beloved on-screen Snape, Rowling again took to Twitter on Monday to reveal a secret she had shared with Rickman years ago that helped him better understand and embody his character.

(Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the books or seen the films, proceed with caution.)

Rowling's tweet reads, "I told Alan what lies behind the word 'always'."

RELATED: Alan Rickman stole my heart when I was 18 — and broke it today

As "Harry Potter" fans will recall, the word "always" comes from a scene in which Snape reveals to Professor Albus Dumbledore that he has always loved and will always love Harry's mother, Lily.

Ultimately, this revelation allowed Rickman to understand that Snape was not entirely evil. Instead, Rickman filmed his scenes with the knowledge that Snape indeed had a heart, and that despite what fans would think until they read the final books, Snape did have good in him.

RELATED: Alan Rickman remembered: 7 of his finest roles beyond Snape