Speed Reads

After all this time

HBO airs Harry Potter anniversary special with controversial appearance from J.K. Rowling

HBO released its Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special Saturday.

The special reunited stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), as well as several other members of the series cast and crew, including actors Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Robbie Coltrane and directors Chris Columbus and Alfonso Cuarón.

Notable absences (aside from deceased cast members Alan Rickman and Richard Harris) included Robert Pattinson, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, and Emma Thompson.

Preliminary reports suggested that author J.K. Rowling would be entirely absent due to her controversial views about transgender people, but in fact she did make a brief appearance in a pre-recorded interview segment from 2019, the Independent reported. She did not, however, have any on-camera interactions with any cast or crew members. All three leads have denounced her views on gender in the past.

Some viewers rejoiced at Rowling's presence in the special while others took to Twitter to express their disappointment. 

There were plenty of other interactions and revelations for longtime fans to gush over, though. According to NBC News, devotees of the "Dramione" fan pairing were tantalized to learn that Watson developed a crush on Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton during filming. Alas, nothing ever came of it.

Oldman and Radcliffe revealed that Alan Rickman was the only one Rowling told about the big Snape twist in advance, according to Insider.

Rupert Grint dished on all the "hormones flying around" behind the scenes of Goblet of Fire and confessed that when Cuarón asked each of the three leads to write an in-character essay, he never completed the assignment. Cuarón didn't mind. Instead, he concluded that Ron probably wouldn't have done the essay either. "Rupert is Ron, 100 percent," he said.

The first film in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in 2001. The eighth and final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 wrapped up the series in 2011. The reunion special is available for streaming on HBO Max.