Harry Potter 20th Anniversary

Has it really been 20 years?

I remember the day my mother confiscated my keyboard, punishing me for one gaming excess or another. It was the day I first picked up the Harry Potter book I had received years before – and the next weeks were a blur, as every night was spent simply consuming the first four books, sleepwalking through school during the day. Harry Potter became a huge part of my teenage years, with hours on end spent on forums and make-believe Hogwarts role playing arenas, making many friends along the way.

The movies were mostly fun, if never as entrancing – inevitable, really, with such a burden of expectation. The only one I regularly rewatch is Prisoner of Azkaban, although I very much enjoyed the Goblet of Fire as well – and think the latter movies are perfectly serviceable, occasionally even heartbreaking, but I failed to really connect with them.

This documentary is quite the nostalgia rollercoaster, with most of the key players sharing some of their thoughts and experiences. Even after almost two hours of reminiscing, it felt like there was so much more left to be discussed and retread, but the documentary does stay focused on the bigger picture – how Harry Potter has been a part of so many lives, in such an amazing way.

And stepping back, it is indeed amazing that a cinematic series like HP has come about, carrying over so many characters and actors across a whole decade, while also giving life to a unique and beautiful world. Harry, Ron and Hermione are at the core of this story, roles that Dan, Rupert and Emma grew into so well, but it’s the adult cast that immensely enhances the world they all inhabit, offering the nuance and complexity that ensures its timelessness.

Sure, the JKR debacle (her being shut out, presumably due to her comments about the trans community) taints the proceedings a bit, irrespective of your feelings about it – but this just goes to show we’ll never return to the simpler times of when Harry Potter was the center of our universe.