Return to Hogwarts: The Magical Reunion We All Needed


A Return to Hogwarts: The Magical Reunion We Needed

How did we get so old? It has been 20 years since the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first of eight films adapted from the seven-book series written by J.K. Rowling. The long-awaited cast reunion documentary, titled Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, premiered on January 1 and is receiving a lot of public attention. Harry Potter is known for its incredible cast, with some of England’s best actors, as well as three relatively unknown actors at the time. Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint—who were barely 10 at the time they were casted—are now taking the world by storm following the immense success of the Harry Potter films.

The cinematic reunion was structured in chronological chapters, one for each director who took part in the series. The reunion contains testimonials and interviews from a variety of actors, most of which were led by co-stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe. Having the leading actors conduct the interviews allowed for a more intimate reflection of filming the movies.

One of the more memorable moments of the film was when Helena Bohnam Carter and Daniel Radcliffe sat down to discuss the movies. Known for her large personality, Bohnam Carter (who played Bellatrix Lestrange, a death eater) reminisced on her malicious on-screen actions. Her warmth off-screen directly contradicts with the evil character she played, making her appearance even more surprising and delightful—in fact, it was nothing short of energetic and fun. The two actors happily recounted old memories from their time on set, adding to the sense of family and community that the Harry Potter franchise created.

One key takeaway from the entirety of the reunion was the relationship between Watson, Radcliffe, and Grint. They shared an experience that nobody else could fathom. There are very few occasions where one maintains a job with the same actors for over a decade. And while, for many children, acting in a fantasy movie might seem like a dream, the realities of fame began to sink in for the movie stars as their publicity began to increase. All three actors continued acting after the final movie, and they have each made an impact on the film industry through their unique experiences while filming new Harry Potter films.

There were many actors and contributors who chose not to participate in the reunion, and controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling caused the author to assume more of a minor role in the showcase. In June of 2020, Rowling posted a problematic tweet that much of the cast spoke out against to show their support of the transgender community. Many believe her offensive comments are the reason she was excluded from the recent film. That being said, the directors and cast were able to recognize the impact Rowling had on the films, while also amplifying the work of others that made the movies what they are to so many people today.

An emotional montage honoring those who have died since the release of the films reminded the audience of how much time has passed. A total of 28 people who were involved in the making of the movies were remembered for their impact on Harry Potter. The younger cast members remembered the mentorship of the older actors and their fondest memories while on set. Considering that the cast is so multi-generational, some of the younger actors were thankful to be able to honor and remember those who shaped who they have become.

With this reunion marking the end of an era, it is up to readers and movie watchers to keep the love of this magical world alive. Latin sophomore Carmen Quinones read the Harry Potter series when she was in fourth grade and recently reflected on the impact the books had on her. “I really believed the books were able to transport me to a new world,” Carmen said. “The series helped me develop better character and more empathy for people.” Harry Potter not only sparked in many a love for reading, but it had an incredible influence on young children that still exists today. Nate Bremen, a fourth grader at Latin, is in the process of reading the books and is enjoying every second of it. “I love how they always make it interesting,” he said. “They were so creative with the monsters and the names of the people.” Nate’s love for the books is just one example of how the franchise remains so relevant in children’s lives today.

As stated by Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the films, Harry Potter “is an ageless story that will continue to be told for decades, even after the people who created it are gone.” The reunion was nothing short of magical, and a wonderful close to what many can call a chapter of their childhood.