Potterheads relive Wizarding World during 20th anniversary of first Harry Potter film

The Harry Potter franchise was something new for the movie industry, and there wasn’t anything like its fantasy world at the time of its release, computer engineering freshman Gavin Ray said.  

The UTA community shared what made the franchise stand out in the entertainment industry since the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, released in theaters 20 years ago. 

The film introduced audiences to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a wizarding school for young witches and wizards, who got accepted at age 11. 

The plot follows Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, and his journey in the Wizarding World. 

“It was already such an award-winning book series that putting it on the big screen would mean a lot to a lot of people,” business management junior Daniela Pedraja said. 

Ray said his favorite movie and book in the franchise is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because it’s nostalgic, and he grew up with it.  

“I can just keep watching it 1,000 times, and it’s always good,” he said. 

Hogwarts students are sorted into one of the four houses: Gryffindor, which valued bravery, Hufflepuff, which valued loyalty, Ravenclaw, which valued intelligence, and Slytherin, which valued ambition. 

Ray said he values knowledge, so he would belong in the Ravenclaw House. 

Mechanical engineering senior Tyler Kelly said he was fascinated by this alternate world and wondered how fun it would be to be a part of it.

The magical world led audiences to believe they had the plot figured out, only for them to realize the things they believed were wrong the whole time, according to Steve Vander Ark, founder of the Harry Potter Lexicon website. 

“I thought it was a good formula,” Kelly said, referring to the loops in the plotlines. “It’s a great way to keep audiences hooked and not knowing what’s going to happen next.” 

It opens your eyes to think about the character’s actions and think about the reasons behind them, Pedraja said.  

Aside from the plotlines, fans fell in love with the characters’ personalities and the actors behind them.

Pedraja said characters like Potter, Ronald “Ron” Weasley and Hermione Granger grew up together in the movies. The actors also grew up together throughout the films’ productions. 

Radcliffe said in a behind-the-scenes video that one of the lessons his character learns throughout the series is that you can never assume something about a person.  

All the characters have different backgrounds so there should be somebody that appeals to you, general business sophomore Kyle Sutherland said. 

Sutherland said his favorite villain is Professor Dolores Umbridge, a character introduced in the fifth book and film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, who embodied the abuse of political power. 

“Even though I hate her as a character, I feel like as a villain, she’s really well done because she’s not doing it to be evil,” he said. “She’s doing it because she thinks she’s doing what’s right.” 

Kelly said his favorite characters were Fred and George Weasley because they were hilarious and were always causing trouble. 

Pedraja said she always wanted to be like Granger since she was studious. 

“She was so committed and she would always outsmart the boys,” Pedraja said. “I’m a Gryffindor and she’s a Gryffindor, and I just wanted to be like her.”  

Pedraja said people connected to the series because J.K. Rowling created a whole new world that had so many specific details such as the sorting hat ceremony for first-year Hogwarts students and the magical spells. 

“She was able to create a whole new world and I think that’s really crazy to a lot of people,” she said. “I think the fact that it was just such a magical thing that people were connected to it.” 

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