Book Adaptations: ‘Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts’

Screenshot of Emma Watson in ‘Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts’. Copyright goes to Warner Bros. and HBO Max.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Well, I just cried after watching this and I definitely need to talk about it. Because I don’t think I’ve made a secret of how influential ‘Harry Potter’ has been to my life and this was everything I could have hoped for from a ‘Harry Potter’ reunion. Complete with very little say from She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. This was all heartwarming reunions between actors who have grown up together and confessionals from directors who had all the inside information on each of the movies. This is the type of ‘Harry Potter’ content announcement that I wanted out of the twentieth anniversary rather than the possibility of ‘Cursed Child’. And obviously, it was everything I could have asked for and more. If you want to watch this for yourself before reading further, I would highly recommend it. There are serious SPOILERS ahead! I’m just going to go over some of my favorite parts of the special by actor. And there are so many good moments!

Daniel Radcliffe:

His name coming up last in the introduction section almost brought me to tears by itself. But my favorite bits from him in this were with Emma, Rupert, and Gary Oldman. Gary Oldman was one of the adults a young Dan connected with the most and you could tell. Gary started out by commenting on how much Dan had grown since he had last seen him. From Emma we heard that Gary was the first addition to the cast that made Dan feel star struck; even telling Emma that she had to be cool around Gary. But once Gary met Dan, he decided to take him under his wing. Dan received a lot of advice from Gary, and when they greeted each other for this interview they really did feel like old friends. Gary even commented earlier on how odd it is to see the children from the original series as thirty year olds now. One of my favorite moments of the entire special was when Dan and Gary started talking about Alan Rickman and how he had convinced the author to tell him the future plans for Snape. When Dan broke out the Alan impression in talking about how he would explain acting choices to director Chris Columbus, he caused Gary to burst out laughing. More than that we got to see Dan reconnect with Emma over how fun the dancing scene in the seventh movie was and get very emotional at the end of the special. We even heard Dan read his note to Helena Bonham Carter that revealed that he might have had a crush on her. It was adorable and seeing Dan again just made me smile.

Rupert Grint:

Some of the anecdotes about Rupert were the best of any other actor. Especially when the actors and directors began talking about how much Rupert actually is Ron. We have all probably heard the story about how when Dan, Emma, and Rupert were given homework to describe their characters; Dan wrote one page, Emma wrote twelve, and Rupert never turned his in. But that wasn’t all. Dan and Emma talked about how in filming for the seventh movie, they would make a game out of who could run the fastest in the scene with the snatchers. Dan and Emma even said that they would often be competitive over little things like that to entertain themselves on set, and Rupert would never get involved. When talking about running for the same scene where Dan and Emma were having a race; Rupert noted that he thought running in itself was a stunt. But even over that, my favorite piece was Emma and Rupert having a heart to heart over how much the ‘Harry Potter’ cast felt like family. They even cried and told each other how much they loved each other. And I definitely cried along with them. Rupert is just a genuinely funny and sweet guy and it was so nice to see him again on screen with the rest of the cast.

Emma Watson:

Emma Watson has been very influential in my life for so many reasons. Her activism has always been inspiring to me and Hermione Granger as a character has made me feel less alone since I was a child. And seeing Emma back and so emotional about being back made me cry more than once throughout this special. Emma interviewed almost as many people as Dan if not the same amount. One of the most prominent was Robbie Coltrane, who helped Emma in the second movie when she had a particular moment of acting that felt like a lot of pressure. But the relationship everyone was talking about, was her and Tom Felton. Which is definitely touched on here. Though they weren’t together in the same room for an interview, Emma talked about having a crush on him and Tom talked about feeling protective over her. Emma, who admitted to often feeling lonely on set because of how closely Dan and Rupert connected, could often feel vulnerable with Tom. And they still have a close friendship and what they both view to be a kinship. And Emma being vulnerable about the fact that she almost left turned into something very inspiring to me. I also loved the footage of them as children. It really struck me how good of a speaker Emma has always been. She is the foundation of the Hermione that I’ve always looked up to, and seeing her back meant so much to me.

Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis:

The highlight of talking about Draco was probably how much Lucius himself had to say about it. Jason Isaacs sweetness turned scary nature was one of Tom’s most vivid memories. But Jason also thought that the way Tom played Draco was like a hero. Someone who didn’t have the background to do something good, but did something good anyways. Matthew Lewis talked about how with Neville, he always felt connected to the shyness and outsider nature of the character and was inspired by how much he grew. Seeing both of these actors talk about their roles again with such love really made it hit home how much love each of these actors have for the series.

Mistakes:

Fred and George Weasley have always been some of my favorite characters in ‘Harry Potter’ and I have always been able to tell James and Oliver Phelps apart. So when James and Oliver came on screen to talk about a hilarious prank they pulled on Rupert where they told him that they had all learned a new dance for a scene featuring Rupert; I was delighted. But when they showed up, it was clear that they had been labelled incorrectly. Oliver even posted on his social media about the mistake naming him as James and James as him; jokingly stating that he thought it was payback for the prank they had pulled. But this wasn’t the only glaring mistake in the special. When attempting to show childhood pictures of Emma Watson, the special instead featured a childhood picture of Emma Roberts. I do wonder how the mistakes were made and if they will be fixed soon. But it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the special.

I loved this special and I loved returning to the wizarding world with all of the actors. We’ve all heard how close the actors are and how much they view each other as family; but we actually got to see it in this special. I loved the interview style where many of the members of the cast got to catch up in the midst of interviewing. And the opening of it was gorgeous with a sequence of beautiful dancing in the Great Hall. Including Tom and Emma dancing for old time’s sake. This was nothing short of beautiful and I highly recommend it! It also distanced itself enough from the author that I will not name, that it was actually very enjoyable. If Hogwarts was your home for as long as it was mine, I would highly recommend treating yourself and crying along with this. Because you will cry.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

One thought on “Book Adaptations: ‘Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts’

  1. At the moment, rereading the series- Harry Potter was a series I grew up with. One of two series that made me fall in love with fantasy

    I wanted to watch this anniversary, but don’t have HBO- that is kinda of annoying

    Liked by 1 person

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