I got an HBO subscription just so I could watch this special. I have been a fan of Harry Potter for as long as I can remember. I got the books as birthday presents when I was younger, went to see the movies in the theaters when they came out, and had Potter-themed birthday parties many, many times. You could say that I am among the key demographic for this special.
When specials/reunions come out, I am usually hesitant to watch them because I do not know if I will be let down and some of my love for the film/tv show will be diminished. But after much thought, I decided to give this special a chance because I love the characters, actors, and world so much that I felt it in my gut that I would not be let down. I was right.
The special is broken down into “Chapters” that cover different movies and different times of the characters lives. As the movies progress, Harry, Ron and Hermione start as children, become teenagers, and then adults. The special follows this timeline and moves in order through the movies.
There are many emotional reunions of the most beloved characters, reminiscing of those who are not around any more, and talk about the future of the characters and all that they bring to the lives of the audience. One of my favorite reunions was that of Malfoy (Tom Felton) and his father (Jason Isaacs). Jason spoke about terrorizing young Tom on set while in character, and Tom spoke about feeling intimidated by him. It gave me a new perspective to know that even though Malfoy seemed fearless, behind-the-scenes Tom was truly scared of his ‘father’. It gave me a new soft spot for Malfoy that I didn’t know was possible.
Another reunion I loved was of Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Hermione (Emma Watson). The bond between them was visceral and the experiences they shared seemed to come to life in their eyes as they spoke about them. I also enjoyed seeing Sirius (Gary Oldman) and Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) reunite, but of course my favorite reunion was that of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione.
So much time and life has passed since they had last been able to get together, but their bond has not weakened, it is very clear and present. They are similar to their characters and have a friendship that cannot be broken by time or distance. You just have to see if for yourself to know what I am talking about.
I could talk about Harry Potter all day, so I think I am going to cut myself off here. This special made me cry, laugh and feel so many emotions that I do not even have words for. (And that is saying a lot coming from a writer who uses writing to convey my emotions.) Most important of all, it made me come to terms with the deep reason I love these movies. Watching misfits band together, face obstacles, and overcome them by trusting and leaning each other is something I want to believe in. I bet a lot of other viewers want to believe in it too.
If you love the movies, do yourself a favor and watch this special. Even if it does not seem possible, it may further deepen your love for the movies after you see how much love the cast and crew have for each other even this many years after filming.
Where is Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Branagh (Lockhart), Harry Telling (Dudley), David Bradley (Filch), and Katie Leung (Cho)? I know, I know they could not include everyone from the films, but I would have gladly watched a 5-hour-reunion, just saying.
Now that I think of it, Harry Potter has so many good characters that may have only have a few minutes of dialogue, but were so powerful and instrumental to the whole series. That is incredibly amazing.