Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts
For me, Harry Potter was one of the foundations of my childhood. I’ve always been a huge fan of films and some of them had quite some impact on who I am today. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter like the cast of the Wizarding World did, they are a couple of years older than me. However, it shaped my childhood all the same. Although it is basically a story of good and evil, there is so much more to it within every single one of the films. ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ is like a perfect wrap-up for this time of my childhood.
In this mix of a documentary and reunion special, we meet most of the legendary cast of the Harry Potter franchise again as we go through the films. A look into the process of bringing the books to life, into the relationships in front and behind the scenes, how the cast got along with each other and a tribute to the great actors and actresses we lost over the years. Just a magical experience. Diving back into the films and especially the different stages of them reminded me of the magic I felt as a child when I saw these films on screen, every single time. There are the first two films which are beautiful for young children to discover the meaning of true friendship, bravery and selflessness. These two brought along magic that is rare in filmmaking and truly unique to those who grow up with them.
Then when we come to the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire, we start to grow older with them. It’s a coming-of-age story and all the feelings, fears, and problems that come with it. First crushes, darker themes and topics, twisting characters and stories that open the complexity of the world to us.
New feelings like jealousy, love, grief, or hate mark two of my two favourite parts of the Harry Potter films. Especially in that time, the films give us safety, advice, and even a possibility to escape loneliness or the reality, our thoughts and confuse undiscovered feelings.
Over the fifth and sixth film, the series ultimately grows up. We go through dark times, heartbreak, whether it may be unfulfilled love or the death of a relative or friend, we learn to take our lives into our own hands, take charge of our doings and how we affect others with them. A time to see the beauty even when darkness surrounds us and to discover the true nature of ourselves and who we want to be. We are no longer children, like in the films, we grew up. We have a more complex understanding of the world, politics, feelings and must learn how to handle all of that.
Finally in The Deathly Hallows Part I and II, the franchise comes to an incredible climax. Our beloved characters are in weird relationships with each other, it is all about defeating the evil. Nevertheless, we first need to find ourselves, who we are, what we mean to others, and what other people mean to us. After school we may be aimless, don’t know what to expect of our lives. Even if we may not know what exactly to do now, we just as much only start with something. No matter what it is, as long as we see a purpose in it, it’s worth fighting for.
All that and more is not only part of the films moreover can also be felt in the recaps of the characters’ feelings not only for each other but for the creation process of the book adaptations which they express in ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’. Nevertheless, just as we don’t get spared from dark times in our lives, the documentary/reunion should’ve mentioned the negative aspects of the cast’s journey or the author. Yet, I can understand why they kept everything idyllically. ‘Cause, that’s what Harry Potter always was, an ideal world where we can feel protected, amongst friends, and safe. A world where we can ignore the crudities of reality. A world, full of magic.