“Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” brings fans back to Wizarding World


Courtesy HBO Max

Staff Writer Maggie Haven writes that “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” brings viewers back to the magic world through its stunning cinematic features.

Maggie Haven, Staff Writer

Being a seven-book, eight-movie series, the “Harry Potter” franchise has brought joy to millions of fans around the world, with its characters and settings creating an escape from reality for readers and watchers. Producer David Heyman brought the magical book series to the screen 20 years ago, and has now brought back the people who made it happen.

Harry Potter castmates and directors celebrated the 20th anniversary of the film adaption of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone” with a reunion film, inviting castmates, directors and producers back together for worthwhile reminiscing and engaging conversations. Released on HBO Max on Jan. 1, 2022,  “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” is an emotional and hilarious hour and 45 minutes, in which the original actors participate in heartwarming discussions and informative interviews throughout four different chapters, discussing two movies within each chapter. 

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), joined together in the familiar Gryffindor common room set to discuss their time on set, including behind the scenes clips and stories from their 10-year filming journey. The actors discussed both the highlights and struggles of their time on set. This was a great addition to the film, as it added a very authentic feel. 

Including scenes from the series like the kids’ first flying lesson, all the way to Hermione and Harry’s dancing scene, as well as the behind-the-scenes clips of the actors as children and as young adults, this film shows the magic behind the magic that is the “Harry Potter” films. Directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates did a fantastic job leading touching conversations and exciting interviews with the actors, sharing a balanced mix of interesting filming facts and the actors’ personal experiences and memories.

The beautiful soundtracks and visits back to the elaborate sets in the reunion are brimming with nostalgia, bringing fans back to the “Harry Potter” universe. The mix of serious conversations about mental health on set, hilarious conversation about pranks and fun times on set were very engaging. Along with that, the variety of actors involved were both surprising and exciting for watchers. Not only were the actors of the main characters involved, but an assorted group of actors who had played smaller parts in the film, such as Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), were also in the reunion.

Further into the film, there was an emotional tribute to fan-favorite actors Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy) and Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore). This part highlighted the actors’ impacts in the films and on set, and it was also a highlight for many watchers. A hilarious conversation between Radcliffe and Helena Bonham-Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) about their unique relationship on set was another great addition, adding some laughter into the very emotional film.

Fans around the world were waiting to see the familiar faces of their favorite actors reunite, and this film did not disappoint. No discussion dragged on too long, and not only was the film extremely nostalgic, but extremely informative as well. If you’re a “Harry Potter” fan, this reunion is definitely worth a watch, and it is a perfect way to be reunited with the Wizarding World you love.