Harry Potter and the 20th anniversary: Return to the wizarding world

A boy wizard with unruly hair, a lightning bolt scar and an inescapable destiny first appeared onscreen on Nov. 14, 2001. Since the movie premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Harry Potter franchise has become a global phenomenon. It’s been 20 years since the release of the movie and the time has come to reflect upon the iconic series. There are many events that are taking place to celebrate, so wear the colors of your Hogwarts house, make yourself a mug of Butterbeer and sit down to watch these television specials.

On Jan. 1, cast members will reunite for the HBO special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. It will also air on TBS and Cartoon Network. This special, reportedly filmed on the Hogwarts set, will feature the core cast members Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). Also featured will be supporting cast members such as Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom),Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley).

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, will not be attending due to her offensive comments about gender identity, which began on June 6, 2020 when she tweeted “Erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” However, she will appear in unabridged footage, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

HBO Max says the reunion will feature “all-new, in-depth interviews, cast conversations and archive footage.”

To promote the reunion, actress Helen Mirren is hosting Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses. The show aired on Nov. 28 on TBS and Cartoon Network. Contestants compete in teams of three for their respective Hogwarts houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. The four-part series allows superfans and celebrity guests, such as Pete Davidson and Tom Felton, to compete in several events: Gryffindor v. Hufflepuff on Nov. 28, Ravenclaw v. Slytherin on Dec. 5, the Wildcard Round on Dec. 12 and The Final on Dec. 19.

Teams must answer questions based on all eight Harry Potter films. Winners will be awarded the Hogwarts House Cup, as well as a $1000 shopping spree at the Harry Potter New York Store, tickets to the Broadway play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and an advanced screening of the movie Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

In tandem with the quiz show, the Wizarding World website hosted the Wizarding World Quiz Championship. The championship consisted of three rounds: Spells & Studies, Creatures & Characters and Fun & Festivities. Those registered on the site competed in their respective houses. The winning house, Ravenclaw, had its colors displayed on the website.

The Harry Potter series is beloved to kids and adults alike. “I was a big fan [of the books],” said WHS senior Karishma Sachdev. “At that time [when I watched the movie], I didn’t have a lot of friends at school and wasn’t doing well socially. [Harry Potter] was an escape and a comfort.”

With multiple events planned for the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone movie, fans can relive the magic of the wizarding world.