My first interaction with Harry Potter was at the age of nine and in some ways, when I look back upon it now, it has been a blessing that I carry along till date and hope to pass it down someday to my future generations. I would not lie, the sheer volume of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone by J.K. Rowling scared me, would it even be comprehensible to me? But as I flipped through the pages, I was drawn into the depths of Hogwarts, the magical world filled with fauns, centaurs, shrieking mandrakes, goblins and thestrals, phoenix and dragons and of course, the insurmountable bond and friendship shared by the three protagonists, Harry, Ron and Hermione. No wonder over a period of just 4 years I consumed the remaining books in the series, each leaving me more enthralled than the previous one and more curious about the next in line. So when the books got adapted into one of the most grossing film franchise boasting a fandom of not only kids, teenagers or geeks but also adults, rest assured I would devour every single aspect of it at the theatres.
The final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly hallows part 2, was screened around 2011 after which the entire cast and crew bid a tearful adieu. The fandom they created however and the indelible mark they left behind in people’s hearts created quite a stir, and now 20 years later, the cast is reuniting once again to walk us through the magical land, one like we have never seen before. HBO confirmed recently that the trio, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will join filmmaker Chris Columbus and other cast members from all eight “Harry Potter” films to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which premiered 20 years ago today.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, as the new film is now called, would be a shot by shot sequence of behind the scenes footage and an exclusive interview with all the stars and production set about the making of the franchise. The feature will “tell an enchanting making-of story through all-new, in-depth interviews and cast conversations,” according to HBO Max. All eight of Warner Bros.’s original “Harry Potter” films are streaming on HBO Max. More like a documentary and talk show featuring all the cast and crew and the helping hands behind the staging and direction, the film is set to air on Warner Media’s TBS and Cartoon Network in spring 2022 ahead of the Warner Bros. Pictures theatrical debut of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Other characters player by actors like Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch and Ian Hart are also set to appear.
Ever since the news got public regarding the reunion, fans have gone berserk, and understandably so. This little boy with round glasses living under the stairs in his aunt’s closet at 4 Privet Drive has been with us since forever. Rowling with his sketch of Harry Potter, played by Radcliffe, has created magic out of thin air. How Rowling came up with the character also deserves to be a part of my nostalgic reminisces, which is the purpose of this very article. J.K. Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter while delayed on a train travelling from Manchester to London King’s Cross in 1990. She was pregnant at that time with her daughter Jessica but then recently separated from his Portuguese partner and was struggling to provide food for herself and her family. She even lost her mother sometime back and all she could take respite in was the imaginary world of magic and brotherhood, courage and friendship that the Harry Potter series came to embody through each sequel. Her first draft, written in longhand and on scraps of paper, got accepted by Bloomsbury publications and went onto become a bestseller almost overnight. This classic rags to riches story doesn’t end here, for in the next five years she doled out one best seller after the other and inspired movies, a play, a theme park, and more.
HBO has also released a 52-second trailer featuring clips from several of the world-famous films and promised “the legendary cast” would return “to where the magic started”. Following the announcement, Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy, Potter’s school nemesis from house Slytherin, took to Twitter and wrote, “Is this what school homecoming is like? Mark your calendars for New Years Day ReturnToHogwarts, streaming on hbomax x.”
Radcliffe himself commented on how privileged he felt on being part of this amazing crew and was indeed lucky since the movie franchise gave him his big break in Hollywood. He pointed it out and quite correctly, how when most of us had discovered Harry Potter, we never realised how much of an impact it would create on us, how it would touch us and transform us, and would stay on with us even if we feel we have outgrown it. One might easily be convinced that the story about a teenage boy who finds himself to be a famous and powerful wizard someday and battles the evil sorcerer Voldemort to bring glory to Hogwarts, is just a narrative for kids. But I and quite surely, the entire Potter fandom would beg to disagree.
“The time in most people’s lives when they discovered it meant that it has an incredibly important place in a lot of people’s childhoods, and they still feel very protective over it,” the 32 year old actor remarked in an interview. “One of my favourite fates that we could never have ever imagined for the Harry Potter films but that I have been told by several friends is that they are fantastic when people are hungover and feeling really crappy about themselves.
“They will just watch back-to-back a few movies and it just takes them to a place of warmth and comfort. That is so lovely to me. That is the real-world effect that a film can have on someone’s life. I think that is great.”
Harry Potter doesn’t end here, just the stories of the characters, the magical trio and three best friends. In its wake, it has given birth to two spinoffs starring Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Be that as it may, the buzz that has been created with the stars returning back to their home ground and walking us through the scenes and sequences, their experiences and the fun times, all would lead to a catharsis in 2022. And I for one, cannot wait to laugh and cry with the entire Potter-verse. So let’s lock 2022 for one spectacular comeback, Alohomora!