HBO’s Harry Potter reunion will charm your heart

Ava Razavi

For many, the Harry Potter series is more than just books and movies about wizards, witches and their mystical adventures in the magical school of Hogwarts. Instead, it is a haven for both the audience and the actors to call home. The readers and watchers can not help but immerse themselves into the series, bonding deeply with the wizards and their storylines. So when HBO announced that their newest original release was “Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” and it would premiere on Jan. 1, 2022, fans were ecstatic. The special, located in the original Harry Potter sets in London, brought back all the fan-favorites: the halls of Hogwarts, the witches and wizards and behind-the-scenes moments that were not included in the original films. 

Delighting fans with their reunion, the main Harry Potter cast premiered their special on HBO Max on Jan. 1, 2022. (Image courtesy of HBO)

In just 100 minutes, the magic of the Harry Potter series was brought back to life. The special begins with the oh-so-familiar sound of John Williams’ original score, a sound that brought a warm feeling in my heart as I basked in the joy of seeing the faces of the actors on my screen. The creators of the special recreated iconic sets for the actors to experience the glory of filming the movies all over again. The set from the fourth movie, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” was rebuilt where Emma Watson (who played Hermoine Granger) and Tom Felton (who played Draco Malfoy) reunited for the first time in many years. The two stars’ reconnection was a bittersweet moment for many, as Watson has admitted she always harbored a secret crush on Felton, and many fans were hoping for their eventual relationship. Other somber emotions emerged when some beloved actors were missing from the special due to their passing, namely Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore in the Sorcerer’s Stone).

Reuniting publicly for the first time in years, lead actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint laugh, reminiscing on their memories from filming the movies. (Image courtesy of HBO)

However, the sadness from these actors’ absences dissipated when the most heartwarming moment of the special occurred: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) came together on the set of the Gryffindor common room and caught up while reminiscing about their childhoods in the franchise. They conversed about everything from the pressure of rising to fame at such a young age to their old set antics. I don’t know if it was the warmth from the common room’s fireplace or the sound of their laughter, but the nostalgia of the moment brought tears to my eyes. Seeing these actors together reminded me of my childhood when my biggest worry was whether or not the trio would be able to defeat Voldemort. 

But their overdramatic affection for each other eventually became too much to enjoy. It seemed almost calculated as if they were trying to cover up the problematic aspects that the name Harry Potter holds. The absence of the creator of the Harry Potter world and the author of the seven books in the series, J.K. Rowling, was apparent. Rowling has been the center of controversy for many years after posting and supporting many transphobic tweets and articles. Small clips of Rowling were included from an interview in 2019, but the message was clear — the franchise and actors do not support the actions of Rowling. This is a viewpoint that the majority of the Harry Potter fandom agrees with, so her absence was seen as a positive message and the right decision. 

Despite the loss of some fan favorites, this special was a great watch, and for all Harry Potter lovers, I couldn’t recommend it more. So go grab that cozy blanket, your TV remote and a cup of butterbeer, and get ready for two decades worth of memories.