Alan Rickman’s Personal Archive to Be Sold, Including “Potter” Scripts and Letters from J.K. Rowling

An amazing collection of scripts, personal letters, papers, and diaries from the late Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) is set to go on sale from Neil Pearson Rare Books. The agency acquired the collection from Rickman’s estate and is preparing the archive – over 30 boxes of stuff – for sale at a price tag of £950,000. This includes all kinds of memorabilia that would be absolute treasures for Harry Potter fans.

The collection includes heavily annotated scripts for “almost every screen appearance Rickman ever made,” including, of course, all eight Harry Potter films. The Potter scripts are highlighted in the archive’s brochure:

…each watermarked with his character number, and with pages in a variety of colours through which draft revisions can be followed. Snape’s lines are highlighted, and in most of the scripts there are extensive notes in Rickman’s hand, throwing light on his creative process and, occasionally, the prevailing atmosphere on set.


Alan Rickman’s eight “Harry Potter” scripts


Other Snape-related paraphernalia include a letter from David Heyman from July 2000 offering Rickman the role; thank you letters and cards from fans, cast, and crew members; loose pages of Rickman’s notes from the Potter sets; and call sheets and memos, including the films’ final call sheet, on which Rickman wrote “The Last Day.”


Letter from David Heyman to Alan Rickman, July 2000, offering him the role of Snape, accompanying a copy of the script


Probably most incredible is the “extensive handwritten correspondence from J.K. Rowling to Alan Rickman, discussing Snape’s character and its development.” It’s well known that J.K. Rowling explained Snape’s backstory to Rickman as soon as he was cast – imagine being able to read the discussions they had over the years!

A 2006 Christmas card from Rowling reads “Just completed *the* Snape chapter. It is so very strange, finishing…” – no doubt referencing “The Prince’s Tale” of Deathly Hallows, which would be published seven months later.


Christmas card from J.K. Rowling to Alan Rickman, 2006


The complete inventory can be found here, and it includes snippets from many other letters. A postcard from David Heyman thanks Rickman for “making HP2 a success. I know, at times, you are frustrated, but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”

A card from Daniel Radcliffe reads “To Alan, Thank you for all of my presents, I can’t wait to read ‘Catcher in the Rye’…”

A postcard from J.K. Rowling says, “Just back from weeks away and had to send a line about what you wrote in the souvenir programme for Hallows II. Made me very tearful. Thank *you* for doing justice to my most complex character…”

Other famous film scripts in the collection include those of Die Hard, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, Truly Madly Deeply, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Rickman also kept a collection of his correspondences with all kinds of notable people, such as fellow actors (Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Richard Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench, Jude Law, Sir Ian McKellen, Vanessa Redgrave), musicians (Sting, Mick Jagger), authors (Ken Follett), politicians (Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown), and royalty (Prince Charles).

Other items include documents and photographs from Rickman’s time as an art and drama student, scripts and materials from his stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appointment books dating from 1972, diaries dating from 1992, awards and certificates he received, and more.

Wow! What do you think of the decision to sell all these materials? What part of the collection would you most love to get your hands on?

Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.