As the shot of wintery London streets zooms in, our beloved familiar faces receive what millions of people wished to receive since their childhood - a Hogwarts letter with that red seal.
Whistling Hogwarts Express, Trunks with name tags, the Same old Hogwarts castle and a grand entrance to the festive and Christmassy Great Hall bring the right ambience to make every Potterhead of the world teary.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter’s first screening, HBO Max gives the Harry Potter fans a precious gift on the first day of 2022.
Since the release of the first Harry Potter book back in 1997, generations of kids have been hooked to the books, and later on, the movie adaptations by Warner Bros. and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter have kept bewitching people till this day.
The retrospective documentary, ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ rightfully pays tribute to the Harry Potter Universe, the cast, and the entire feeling associated with that.
The entire 1 hour and 42 minutes is a walk down the memory lane of the past 20 years filled with spellbound nostalgia and overwhelming emotions that are sure to touch even the non-fans.
The show is divided into four chapters, each highlighting two movies giving a rundown of all 8 movies of the Harry Potter series.
The main highlight of this documentary is that the famous trio - Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron) reunites like this after ages; the warm Gryffindor room acts as the cherry on top.
Tom Felton (Draco), Bonnie Wright (Ginny), Evanna Lynch (Luna), Matthew Lewis (Neville), James Phelps (Fred), Oliver Phelps (George), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix), Gary Oldman (Sirius), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) and some other prominent casts joined the reunion.
When the casts came to the scene and hugged each other, it felt like a hug from a childhood filled with warmth.
The three power girls of the Harry Potter series meet in the Hogwarts Express which depicted how time has passed and our brave girls turned into bold and confident ladies.
The way Emma Watson's eyes burst in surprise as she walks in and discovers her friends is exactly how we fans felt while watching this nostalgia trip. Emma's scene with Tom drenches everyone in love as they share their fondness from the past which turned into a strong friendship of admiration.
The show reaches its peak when the trio sits in the Gryffindor common room and shares how they practically grew up in the sets of Harry Potter from jolly little kids to awkward teenagers to serious portrayers of the characters.
One thing is sure to touch everyone that is the entire cast treats each other as a family and the trio also develops an unparallel friendship that continues to this day. As Emma mentions, they were in an extreme form of method acting where they became much like their characters.
The four directors - Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and David Yates were also present at the reunion, providing some memorable moments and insights for the fans to hold on to.
The conversations with the directors and the cast were also something to point out. The reunion has a heartfelt moment of respect (Wand’s raise!) to remember casts who are no longer in this world - Alan Rickman (Snape), Helen McCrory (Narcissa), Richard Griffiths (Dumbledore) and more.
Nonetheless, the absence of J.K. Rowling was noticeable, more because of her old interview footage. This could be rooted back to the recent controversies she fell into.
Adding to that, many other noteworthy casts like Maggie Smith (McGonagall), David Thewlis (Lupin) did not return to the reunion and kept an emptiness for the fans.
Along with the Harry Potter series and its cast, the fans have also grown up and reached a different stage of life. This reunion documentary makes space for us to look back in our life too; as if we gently went back in the past through pensive.
The show echoes what Emma said, “There's something about Harry Potter that makes life richer."
Indeed, this series gave millions of people a story to feel held. The entire story does not only act as a fictional world full of fantasy but celebrates friendship, eccentricity, growth, humanity, empathy, warmth and most importantly, love and perhaps the blend of all these elements is what creates magic.
The writer is a huge Harry Potter fan and a sophomore at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.