Even though the last of the Harry Potter films graced the big screen back in 2011 – 5 years ago – It’s fan base still thrives stronger than ever. We have a new outing from J.K. Rowling in The Cursed Child, the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November and Warner Bros have re-released the Potter films on Blu-ray and DVD with all new stunning artwork.
Back in 2001, Warner Bros. brought to life J.K. Rowling’s first instalment of her highly successful novel adaptation Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Introducing us to the gloriously magical, wizarding world of Potter, his friends, Hogwarts, and platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station. We also get our first look at a baby-faced Daniel Radcliffe as Potter as well as Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley – a wizard from a poor yet loving pureblood family , Emma Watson as Hermione Granger – a witch born to non-magical parents, and an all-star cast with Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid – a gentle giant groundskeeper -, the dearly departed Alan Rickman as Severus Snape – Potions Master and Head of the Slytherin House -, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall – Deputy Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor, and Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore – Hogwarts headmaster and the most famous and powerful wizards of all time. Let’s take a look at the 8 films in the Harry Potter Series and take a trip down memory lane.
Year 1 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
As Harry and friends settle into life at Hogwarts, learning how to master their wizarding ways and learning about his past, Harry gets his first taste of his number one enemy, Voldemort, who appears on the back of the head of Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart) – Defence Against Darks Teacher – Harry is convinced Snape is after the Philosopher’s Stone to bring Voldemort back so he, along with Ron and Hermione, decide to find the stone before he does by completing a number of obstacles which include surviving the deadly Devil’s Snare, and winning a game of over-sized chess. Of course, Harry learns it wasn’t Snape but Quirrell who wanted the Stone and to kill him but just from his very touch, Harry turns him to dust, giving Harry his very first victory in the long arduous battle against ‘He who should not be named’
Year 2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
One year later see’s the return of Harry and co for year 2 in the chamber of secrets – which was nominated for three BAFTA’s and was the 45th highest-grossing film of all time. This time, Ron and Harry arrive for the new term by a flying ford Anglia when they are blocked from entering platform 9 ¾ – at the doing of Dobby, a house elf, in order to save Harry from danger. In this new term, Harry and co have to fight off the monster that has been released from the Chamber of Secrets – a secret chamber constructed by one of Hogwarts’ founders, Salazar Slytherin. The over-sized snake monster – which was created to rid the school of impure blood wizards and witches – has the ability to kill anyone who looks directly at it and petrify those in its presence. Harry is at first accused of being the heir when it emerges he can talk to snakes and finds an enchanted diary which belonged to an old student, Tom Riddle. Thanks to the diary Hagrid is imprisoned in Azkaban for wrongly stating he opened the chamber, Ginny Weasley has been taken into the chamber and lays dying as Harry finally learns that Tom Riddle is the true heir and that his name is, in fact, an anagram for ‘I am Lord Voldemort’. Harry battles Riddle, defeating his enemy and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with the monsters fang.
Year 3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Year 3 came to us in 2004 and was the first Potter film to be released into IMAX cinemas with IMAX technology. The Prisoner of Azkaban is indeed Sirius Black – a man that is believed to support Voldemort and is on the loose to Kill Harry. Dementors are brought in to protect Hogwarts while Sirius is at large but Harry, on close encounters with the swirling black figures, passes out. Hagrid is made Care of Magical Creatures Teacher and Lupin privately teaches Harry to defend himself against the dementors. Harry soon learns that Black – who can transform into a dog – was his parent’s best friend and indeed his godfather, who, Lupin reveals is completely innocent of his charges of murdering Peter Pettigrew – who in fact is Ron’s pet rat. As Pettigrew manages to escape, Harry is set upon by the dementors only to pass out to find Black captured, Finding Hermione the pair travels back in time to save the day.
Year 4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2005 saw Radcliffe and co reunite for The Goblet of Fire – and also showing the trio had gone through a bit of a growth spurt – With yet another teacher in to take over the Defence of Dark Arts – Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody – Dumbledore announces that Hogwarts will also be hosting the Triwizard Tournament – a tournament where three magical schools compete against each other in deadly challenges. The champions of which are selected by The Goblet of Fire, which unexpectedly chooses Harry as the fourth champion even though Cedric Diggory (played by a young Robert Pattinson) of Hufflepuff has already been chosen to represent Hogwarts, making Ron extremely jealous. With Cedric and Harry both declared winners, they grab the cup – which is a port key – which transports them to a graveyard where Voldemort and Pettigrew are waiting and Pettigrew kills Cedric. Harry takes on a wand battle with Voldemort, which manages to distract him so he can take Cedric’s body back to Hogwarts and warn that Voldemort is back, which the Ministry of Magic refuse to believe.
Year 5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
It’s now 5 years since Harry became a Hogwarts student and as Harry grows into a young man with his interest in girls starting to seep through, the series of films become a whole lot more sinister with it. The Order of the Phoenix is a secret organisation formed by Dumbledore, who don’t agree with the politics of the Ministry of Magic – who are in denial and don’t believe Harry about Voldemort’s return. So when Ministry of Magic Cornelius Fudge appoints Dolores Umbridge as a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Harry, and the new teacher clash, forcing Harry to train his friends in secret for the impending wizard war that lurks around the corner. With Harry and his friends lured to the department of mysteries and uncovering a bottled prophecy a battle commences with the death eaters which see’s Harry’s beloved godfather, Sirius murdered and Dumbledore takes on Voldemort in a one on one battle.
Year 6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Half-Blood Prince opened to critical acclaim and still remains one of the most loved films in the series. With Hogwarts no longer a safe haven for its students. Draco Malfoy has been chosen by Voldemort to undertake a secret mission to kill Dumbledore, Snape is made to make an unbreakable vow to protect Draco if anything goes wrong and Hermione shows her true feelings for Ron, while Harry and Ginny have their first kiss. Harry, having his suspicions about Draco takes him on and severely injures him which see’s Snape heal the wound and reveal he is the Half-Blood Prince. With Draco declaring he can’t kill Dumbledore, Snape takes his place and casts the Avada Kedavra curse killing Dumbledore while Harry, Ron, and Hermione vow to seek out the last of the Horcrux – objects that contain pieces of Voldemorts soul –to destroy it once and for all.
Year 7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
With most final instalments of film adaptations, The Deathly Hollow was split into two films – always good for a money spinning machine – Harry, Hermione, and Ron are seen in this outing being hunted down by Voldemort and his Death Eaters as they go on the search for the last remaining Horcrux. Muggle-born witches and wizards are being persecuted and whilst in the possession of the Horcrux the three best friends start to turn on each other as well as being betrayed by Xenophilius Lovegood who passes on information to the Death eaters in order for the release of his kidnapped daughter which sees the trio escape into the wilderness yet again only to be captured and taken to battle.
Year 7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The final piece of the puzzle finally arrived in 2011, After burying the much loved Dobby – who saved Harry Potter in Part 1 – Harry faces the biggest battle of his life so far as good goes up against evil, many lives are lost and cowards made – Snape shows his worth when confronted by Harry and challenged by McGonagall – Revelations are made from Snape revealing he was once in love with Harry’s Mother as a child and hated his father for bullying him, Dumbledore had ordered Snape to Kill Harry as Harry was, in fact, a Horcrux which housed a piece of Voldemorts soul. Harry knows he has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone else and surrenders himself to Voldemort which backfires on Voldemort as Harry returns to his body to take out his enemy is spectacular style.