In honor of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (TWWoHP) at Universal Studios Hollywood opening this past Wednesday, I felt it necessary to throw it back to my top eight favorite moments from all of the Harry Potter films.
To narrow this down to just eight moments that are my favorite from 19 hours and 28 minutes of footage (not that I’m counting or anything) was extremely difficult, but it also created more nostalgia than I could have hoped for. From watching Ron and Harry save Hermione from the Troll in the women’s bathroom all the way up to Harry finally defeating He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (Voldemort), the feels and magic started all over again. That is why my first favorite moment will start from the beginning, as a story should.
1. When Harry first finds out he’s a Wizard – Sorcerer’s Stone
The iconic “Yer a wizard” quote said by dear old Hagrid has been meme’d way too many times, but that doesn’t take away from the sentimental and shocked look that Harry gives when he responds with “I’m a wot?” This is where it all started.The books, the memories, the friends, the tears and the laughter. It all started with Hagrid forcefully making his way into the Vernon’s cabin after they tried to keep Harry from finding out that he was a wizard (by stealing every piece of mail that the owls brought to Harry). That is why this is my favorite scene from the movie. Normally, someone’s favorite scene is a happy ending, but my favorite scene was Harry’s beginning to finally being happy and loved.
2. When Hermione sees Harry and Ron – Chamber of Secrets
There were way too many favorite parts to choose from in this movie. There was the first meeting of Dobby, Ron and Harry flying Ron’s father's Ford Anglia, Hermione showing just how badass she really was by creating a Polyjuice Potion that worked on almost everybody, Gilderoy Lockhart or even Harry defeating the Basilisk near the end. While all of those scenes were fantastic, none of them beat my number one favorite scene: when Hermione sees Ron and Harry for the first time after she was no longer petrified. The scene was filled with so much joy and love that I really felt what the boys felt after seeing Hermione. She looked just as happy to see Harry and Ron. I think it really showed how far their friendship had come since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After all, friendship is one of the most important themes throughout the Harry Potter films.
3. Hermione vs. Draco – Prisoner of Azkaban
While it is duly noted that Hermione is a total badass, this scene was the topping on my magical Harry Potter-themed cake. How can you not love the bad boy we all love to hate getting punched in the face for running his mouth one too many times? Hermione did on the screen what all the viewers (and readers) wanted to do off the screen. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite book of the entire series, and this part may have been that deciding factor. I am not one to hashtag too often, but this is definitely a #NeverForget moment.
4. Dumbledore’s surprise shouting – Goblet of Fire
If you’ve read the books, you were all as confused—and slightly intrigued—as I was. This scene clearly shows Dumbledore yelling at Harry and aggressively heading towards him. However, readers, please pull out your books and (in a Professor Snape voice) turn to page 276.
This is how the book portrayed the scene. Yes, Dumbledore totally overacted at this part, but this is what makes this part so memorable. The fact that we were all expecting this to be calm, and then boom, Dumbledore goes all Voldemort on Harry. This definitely makes it one of the best parts of Goblet of Fire (GoF). Just a disclaimer, I loved every single part of GoF. While Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite book, GoF was my favorite movie out of all eight films.
5. Sirius’ death – Order of the Phoenix
Before anyone hits me with the Avada Kedavra curse, hear me out. This was one of the most depressing parts of the entire series. Harry lost family that he didn’t realize he even had until the third film and book. However, this part showed me that even through all this happiness, love and friendship that Harry was finally feeling, that doesn’t mean that pain just goes away. You will still have to fight through the pain and sadness even when it hurts. I think this was one of the most beautifully devastating parts of the entire film. Suddenly when things seemed to be going his way, something so dear to him was ripped from his clutches. Life is surprising, confusing and just down-right mean sometimes. This movie and book series could not continuously go into being all happy all the time, which is why this is one of my favorite parts. Yes, it is devastating, but Harry continues on living despite the trauma he is facing. I think that is what most people call a beautiful downfall.
6. Lavender Brown and Ronald Weasley – Half-Blood Prince
I love everything about the Lavender Brown and Ron Weasley’s relationship. It was hilarious to see Ron all googly-eyed over someone (especially to see this acted out by Rupert Grint). Also, the jealousy that you see Hermione getting over Ron being in a relationship with someone else is absolutely heart-wrenching. The amount of feelings that arise from the characters with the numerous relationships and love-triangles in this movie and book made me feel like the characters were actually growing up. Also, I have always shipped “Romione,” so Hermione’s jealousy over Ron made me so happy that my ship was finally coming true.
7. Hermione and Harry’s dance – Deathly Hallows Part I
This scene was absolutely beautiful. It showed that “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” (thanks for the quote, Dumbledore). The song choice (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – "O Children") was perfect for the mood that was being set. Ron had just stormed off, Harry and Hermione were still furiously trying to find the leftover Horcruxes and time was running out. This part set such a beautiful mood despite the terrible circumstances that were happening outside of their tent. I still watch this scene from time-to-time just because it is my favorite scene out of every single movie.
8. Neville’s Speech – Deathly Hallows Part II
(Insert tears and heart break here.) This scene gets me every single damn time. I think the most inspiring part of his entire speech is that Neville is never really seen as someone who sticks up for himself. He is always being made fun of but never giving any sass back. However, in this scene, his sass and his pride come out. It makes me so proud to call myself a Neville fan from day one (underdogs all the way)!
The Harry Potter series was a story of love, hope, despair and friendship. Although these eight moments were very important to me, the entire Harry Potter series holds a lot of memories and nostalgia for me. It is a story that will never grow old and that generations can continue to enjoy long after the “Harry Potter generation” is gone.