Harry Potter Reunion Review

Anna Albergo, Editor-in-Chief

On Jan. 1, 2022, HBO released “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts to celebrate and reminisce on the legendary film series. Eight movies were created between November 2001 and July 2011 after the release of the seven-book series by J.K. Rowling. The reunion episode featured interactions between cast and crew as well as previously unreleased footage. The combination of familiar faces, flashbacks from the films and tributes to actors who have recently passed created the perfect nostalgic sensation for “Harry Potter” fans.

After introductions, the reunion episode was structured chronologically, by describing each movie starting with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and ending with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” I felt that this structure was a good choice, but disliked how they spent varying amounts of time discussing each movie instead of equally reviewing the movies. For example, I found that they overlooked “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and spent far too much time covering “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Although the “Deathly Hallows” was broken into two movies and marked the end of the series, there was no need to devote a large chunk of time to it in a series where all movies exceeded expectations.

Looking back on the reunion episode, I am still amazed at all the new insights I’ve acquired. Since first reading the books and watching the movies in elementary school, I have reread and rewatched the series countless times. Because of my previous knowledge, I went into the reunion episode doubtful that I would learn new information, but I was quickly proved wrong. The reunion episode offered me a new perspective on the series by incorporating lesser known information including the fact that Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione Granger, considered leaving midway through the series. It was also interesting to get a new perspective on the scenes I have watched so many times. In particular, I enjoyed hearing Emma Watson and Rupert Grint talk about the awkwardness behind the scene and seeing the many failed takes of the scene.

While the new knowledge presented provided impressive insights, the most meaningful aspect of the reunion episode was seeing the impact that the “Harry Potter” movies had on the actors and actresses involved. While watching the movies, it’s easy to get caught up in the characters and forget to realize that their story was only made possible by real people. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson shared how they struggled to find an identity outside of “Harry Potter” once filming ended. The reunion episode sparked appreciation for the decade of hard work and dedication that was required to create the films that shaped the lives of millions around the world.

The reunion episode gave “Harry Potter” fans an experience similar to looking through Dumbledore’s pensieve. They were able to go back in time to experience what they haven’t before, making “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwartsa truly magical experience.