Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is a magical must-watch on HBO Max

The cover photo of the new Harry Potter Reunion: 20th Year Anniversary on HBO Max.

HBO Max

The cover photo of the new Harry Potter Reunion: 20th Year Anniversary on HBO Max.

Nine years ago, around this time roughly, my mom decided to record all the Harry Potter films that aired on what was then called ABC Family. Now, I lay in my bed totally distraught and unable to communicate anything. 

It’s funny how the butterfly effect works.

The Harry Potter series has changed me in ways films shouldn’t, but nonetheless, here I am, a total geek for anything relatively related to them. I accidentally hyper-fixate on all the small details in the films just to get a better understanding of their idiosyncrasies. 

By now, I’m a self-proclaimed expert on just about everything Harry Potter-related, and I don’t think that title is wrong in any way.

As a catalyst to my adoration and expertise when it comes to the series, New Year’s Day, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts was finally streaming on HBO Max. 

Tired from the night before, I struggled to find the remote to my TV that I poorly pieced together. It holds itself on a slant forward as its left side is slightly lower than the right, not to mention it isn’t centered on my ancient Ikea dresser. Despite the battle, I fought to retrieve the tiny remote from behind said ancient Ikea dresser and turned on the show.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts put me through necessary distress along with overwhelming nostalgia.

The start to Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts was made a welcoming one by Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, and Tom Felton as they gathered together in the Great Hall. A large celebration was being held in a location greatly loved by fans globally. 

It felt right in such a weird sense. Twenty years ago, this is where their Harry Potter endeavors really started, and now, the adult cast was celebrating one of the most successful series in film history. 

The reunion was more of a “Thank You” to the loyal fans rather than a movie. Filmed in a documentary-type manner, it told stories of life both on and off set. It revealed the many hidden layers of what the Harry Potter series meant to the cast and crew as they reminisced on some of the most memorable moments of their lives. 

As an “expert,” being able to see the characters I grew up watching religiously wasn’t just a reward. It gave me insight into the movies as well as further expanded my rather expansive knowledge of the films. 

It felt right in such a weird sense. 20 years ago, this is where their Harry Potter endeavors really started, and now, the adult cast is celebrating one of the most successful series in film history. ”

It’s a little unhealthy to know so much about eight movies, but I simply don’t care. 

For years, I have been waiting and waiting for the Golden Trio—Harry Potter [Daniel Radcliffe], Hermione Granger [Emma Watson], and Ron Weasley [Rupert Grint]—to reappear on screen. A few weeks before the release date, Watson posted a message from the heart to fans announcing this once-in-a-lifetime feelings fest. 

As the reunion bounced around from movie to movie, person to person, and scene to scene, the crew worked boundlessly to perfectly execute the 20th-anniversary film. The reunion showed what some sets look like now after decades of sitting dormant. The Gryffindor common room is still intact and so is the inside of Gringotts. In fact, the goblins are still under their respected desks. 

I also learned Dobby was played by a real person—I almost started crying because it’s so obvious, but it never clicked in my mind. Embarrassing because I thought I knew everything, but at the same time, the reunion was supposed to be informational as well as put the viewer in their feels. 

In the middle of this masterpiece, there was a section that remembered the actors and actresses involved with the series that weren’t able to see this remarkable milestone. I was tearing up, but the part that sent me into a full breakdown–I’m talking temper tantrum type of crying–was when Watson and Radcliffe were looking back on this one scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. 

The scene is simply the two slow dancing to “O Children” by Nick Caves after Ron runs away. It is my all-time favorite scene. It’s a break of light in the darkest time of their lives, and after everything they’ve been through in that movie, it is a genuine scene to break up the tension is way more than just “nice” or “cool.” 

There has never been a miss when it comes to the Harry Potter series. The 20th-anniversary reunion film was an insightful recap that jerked tears (too many) and plastered huge smiles on my face. I miss the basement of my old Coit house, I really do, but watching Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on a TV that clearly showcases my handyman skills was a perfect wrap-up to arguably the best film series of all time.