How the 'Harry Potter' reunion both disappointed and delighted fans

Actor and author absences, cases of mistaken identity and one truly touching relationship were all noted

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Potterheads young and old spent the first day of the year reminiscing about the beloved Harry Potter franchise with its all-star cast, as Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts was broadcast on Saturday.

In the nearly two-hour-long HBO special, fans were presented with an emotional and nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) sat down to talk about growing up on set, while major British actors such as Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) also made an appearance, sharing never-before-heard anecdotes from their years working on the franchise.

There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the special, which has been compared to the recent Friends reunion, but there were aspects of it that weren't as well-received.

Here we review the moments that both disappointed and delighted viewers:

Disappointment: Emma Roberts confused with Emma Watson

An eagle-eyed fan spotted a big editing mistake in the reunion and shared it on social media, naturally causing it to go viral.

At one point, a childhood photograph of what producers believed was Emma Watson flashed on screen, yet one Twitter user rightly pointed out that it was, in fact, a young Emma Roberts (We're the Millers).

It was a photo of Roberts in Minnie Mouse ears that the Holidate actress had previously shared on her Instagram account.

The producers were quick to put their hands up and admit fault. "Well spotted Harry Potter fans!" they said. "You brought an editing mistake of a mislabelled photograph to our attention. New version up shortly."

Delight: Emma Watson and Tom Felton's relationship

Their love for one another couldn't have been clearer than in the moment they first see each other in the reunion. Watson runs towards Felton for a big hug, both grinning like Cheshire cats.

For years, Watson and Felton are rumoured to have dated, but they both deny it in the special. Watson admits to a crush on her co-star, and they both say they have always “loved each other” but draw the line there.

“Emma and I have always loved each other, really,” Felton says. “I think I was in the hair and make-up chair and someone said something along the lines of, ‘She has a crush on you.’”

Fans gushed on social media about the hug. "Middle-school me who read all the 'What's Going On Behind the Scenes of the Harry Potter Movies' stories is losing her mind at Emma Watson and Tom Felton at the 0:19 mark," wrote Ella Brockway.

"I swear if I'm having a bad day I will play this over and over again to restore my mood," wrote another Twitter user of the clip.

Disappointment: JK Rowling's absence

This point is actually quite divisive, as while fans appreciate JK Rowling's genius in creating the world of Harry Potter, many were put off by the author's controversial comments on transgender people last summer.

While new interviews with cast members and directors of the film series were shot specially for the episode, archival footage was used of Rowling, as the caption "filmed in 2019" appeared on the screen. She features for less than 30 seconds of the one-hour-and-45-minute show.

It was taken from footage filmed for the Warner Bros Studio Tour.

“Laughing at all the ‘filmed in 2019’ for all of JKR’s interview clips … they want to let us know they didn’t invite her back for it all,” one viewer wrote.

"Can't get around this Harry Potter reunion without JK Rowling," wrote another. "The politics of the world makes me sick. How can you create something from scratch and not allowed to be a part of it?"

Entertainment Weekly reported that Rowling was actually invited to participate, but that her team allegedly determined the archived comments to be enough. Sources close to the situation said Rowling's comments on trans people did not play a part, according to the publication.

Delight: Rupert Grint is Ron Weasley

Alfonso Cuaron, who directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, recounted a wonderful story of when he set Radcliffe, Watson and Grint some homework. He asked the trio to write essays in character on Harry, Hermione and Ron and what they're all about.

"After about half a side of A4, I was like, ‘Right, I have pretty much covered everything," recalls Radcliffe. "I mean Jo [Rowling] has written 500 pages about this, but I feel like this one pretty much sums this up. Great!’ I was proud of that and brought it in.”

Watson, of course, writes 12 "beautifully written" pages about Hermione, while Grint does nothing.

“Rupert didn’t deliver anything," says Cuaron with a laugh. "I said, ‘Rupert where is your assignment?’ and he says, 'I thought Ron wouldn’t do it'."

Fans loved this. "Rupert Grint not doing his assignments coz Ron Weasley wouldn't either is method acting lmao," wrote one on Twitter.

"Yep he was born to be Ron Weasley," said another.

Disappointment: notable actor absences

Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney), Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick and Griphook), Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Julie Walters (Molly Weasley) and Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) are all notably absent from the special.

In particular, Gambon, 81, and his crucial character are barely even referenced.

“Why was Michael Gambon completely snubbed? Is there a story there?” one fan asked on Twitter.

"They mentioned some of the people who weren’t in the reunion, but it’s sus to leave out the man who played Dumbledore for six whole movies," wrote another.

Meanwhile, Richard Harris's calmer interpretation of the character in the first two films was discussed at length.

Why this is the case remains a mystery.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is available to watch now exclusively on OSN Streaming in the UAE

See photos of where the cast of Harry Potter are now:

Updated: January 04, 2022, 12:43 PM