A magical reunion


Spells and wizardry returned to the world of muggles on Jan. 1, 2022, when HBO Max released “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” a documentary illustrating the real magic that helped create the Harry Potter films. Many of the original cast members, such as Daniel Radcliff ( Harry Potter), Emma Watson ( Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), reunited to discuss growing up on set and how their characters came to be the personalities many know and love. 

The program takes the viewers through each of the eight films with the corresponding directors. During the first two movies, “The Philosopher’s Stone” and “The Chamber of Secrets,” director Chris Colombus discusses the pressure he felt trying to put author J.K. Rowling’s writing onto the big screen. Despite his worries, Columbus managed to make set life fun and easy for the young actors.

 “Chris Colombus made the atmosphere very much like a funfair. I never recall feeling like we were working,” Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) said.

While shifting toward a darker theme in the third movie, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” director Alfonso Cuaron introduced well-known British actors, Gary Oldman (who portrays Sirius Black) and David Thewlis (who portrays Remus Lupin). The cast members spoke about the difference between the previous light-hearted films versus the mature topics, such as the loss of family and friends in the film. 

“It was really interesting to learn about the process that the directors took to film ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban,’ I really liked hearing about how the actors took on their roles,” Michelle Laurier, freshman, said.

Producer David Heyman knew Mike Newell was the person to recruit as the director for “The Goblet of Fire.” He was known to bring lively, theatrical energy on set, which was the atmosphere Heyman believed the fourth film should project. The last four movies, “Order of the Phoenix,” “The Half-Blood Prince,” and “Deathly Hallows part one and two,” were directed by David Yates. Because the cast was much older, these movies were darker than any other in the series, and the documentary shows just how much emotion the performers poured into these films.

 “There was a big increase in scale and complexity for them [Radcliff, Grint, and Watson], from being childish to influencing events, and being part of the big world,” Mark Williams (Aurthor Weasley) said.

After 20 years, Harry Potter fans were very excited to see the original cast back together to have the opportunity to hear about the actors’ special moments with the world. Many people were moved by the stories behind the movies and loved hearing about the filming process.

“It was so emotional seeing my favorite characters come back to the set of Harry Potter; I was so happy to see that they were all still close,” Kaylee Medeiros, junior, said.

While these movies first showed two decades ago, “Harry Potter 20th anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” brings wonder and joy back to the screen. Yet this time viewers are able to understand the determination put into the films so that the world can experience, once again, the magic of Harry Potter.