20 years later, the wizarding world of Harry Potter returns


Talya Pecullan, Staff Writer

Ever since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in 1997, the Harry Potter book series has become a world-wide phenomenon, developing a huge fan base and being transformed into eight films.  The Harry Potter series tracks the story of a boy wizard Harry Potter and his two friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger; they engage in several adventures at Hogwarts, their school, leading them on a journey throughout the wizarding world.  Harry is an orphan whose parents were killed by an evil wizard, Voldemort.  Harry survived the attack, and when he first arrives at Hogwarts at eleven years old, Voldemort is presumed to be dead.  The Harry Potter series follows Harry maturing into an adult wizard at Hogwarts, with Voldemort eventually returning.  Harry faces off with Voldemort many times and endures other trials and tribulations.  The series culminates in a battle at Hogwarts, where Harry emerges victorious from his final fight with Voldemort. 

“I haven’t been so excited by Harry Potter news in such a long time.  It will be amazing to see the original cast together and I’m sure it will bring up so many memories for some many people of their childhoods,” said senior Kayla Caplin. 

Harry Potter is portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe in the films with Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) as his co-stars.  Since the last movie (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) finished filming, there has been no official cast reunion, disappointing many fans.  However, as the twentieth anniversary of the release of the first film approaches, it was announced that the cast would reunite in an HBO Max special. 

Harry Potter was my home, my family, my world and Hermione (still is) my favorite fictional character of all time,” said Watson in an Instagram post.  

The reunion premieres on HBO Max on Jan. 1, 2022; it will later air on WarnerMedia’s TBS and Cartoon Network in the spring of 2022.  Besides Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, many other original cast members returning in the special, including Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and Ian Hart (Professor Quirrel).  The reunion is set to take place on the original Harry Potter sets, and the cast will also be joined by director and producer Chris Columbus. 

“It’s very exciting to Harry Potter fans everywhere!  We haven’t been able to see the original cast reunite since the last movie came out,” said senior Emily Benson-Tyler. 

The HBO Max special is not the only Harry Potter-related event occuring in the next few months.  As a lead-up to the reunion, a bracket-style quiz competition television show, called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses, will premiere on TBS and Cartoon Network.  This event will showcase super-fans and celebrities, attempting to bring home the Tournament of Houses championship trophy.  In addition, the show plans to feature cameos from several Harry Potter cast members.  

“I’m beyond excited to watch the HBO Max reunion and the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses show,” says senior Andy Ollendorf.

The competition will be hosted by famed English actress Helen Mirren.  Potential prizes for contestants are abundant and include a shopping spree at the Harry Potter New York store, tickets to the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and advanced screening tickets for the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

“I knew someday I’d get a Harry Potter role, and I’m so pleased to take part in the 20-year film celebration.  The films inspired such enchantment and wonder for so many of us, and it will be such a treat to reignite that magic for the countless fans who continue to revel in this spellbinding world,” said Mirren in an interview with Wizarding World.

The new television specials are a great way for long-time fans to reconnect with the series, as well as a way for the series and the films to gain new and younger audiences.