In 2021, it will be a whole decade since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the last film of our favorite magical franchise, premiered. That might not make you feel old, but there’s also this: 2021, not even three years away, will be twenty years since the first movie adaptation of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, came out. Twenty blooming years! We’ve nearly had two decades of Harry Potter on our screens, and the eight films have left a mark on our hearts.
There’s so much to love about the world of Harry and his friends that it’s hard to understand those who don’t get it. Witches and wizards might not be for everyone, but who can resist a story about lasting friendships, romantic tension, facing fears and the eternal struggle between good and evil? Though J.K. Rowling occasionally blesses us with additions to the Potter universe, fans have mostly had to accept that the official story of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s journey has come to a close on our screens. And the only thing that eases some of that pain is looking back over our favorite iconic scenes from the franchise.
Do you remember all of these magical moments?
25 The Dursley's House Gets Filled With Letters
The letter that started it all. In the first movie, the moment that Harry receives his Hogwarts letter is a big deal, because it kicks off his transition from ordinary boy under the stairs to the superstar of the wizarding world. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia don’t allow him to read the letter since they can see where it came from, but more and more come. Harry doesn’t actually get to open his letter until the faithful Hagrid delivers it to him in person.
24 When The Wand Chose The Wizard
Hagrid is the one who first tells Harry that he’s a wizard, but we think the moment it all really sinks in is when he’s trying to find his wand in Ollivander’s. When his wand chooses him, you can tell from the lighting and wind machine that something big is about to happen. Harry feeling the force of the wand in his hand probably helps him to process how big a deal it is to be a wizard (and the Chosen One at that).
23 Harry Catches His First Snitch... In His Mouth
From his first year at Hogwarts, Harry is lightning fast on his broom and a whiz at Quidditch. It’s in his blood to be a star at the sport, but we don’t think even Oliver Wood expected him to win the game for Gryffindor by catching the snitch on his first try! This isn’t the first time Harry wins the game by catching the snitch, but it’s pretty memorable since he catches it with his mouth instead of his hands.
22 The Trio Curses Neville...For A Good Cause
At the end of the first film, Harry, Ron and Hermione set off in the middle of the night in search of the Philosopher’s Stone on the third floor of the school. But on their way out of the Gryffindor common room, Neville tries to stop them from getting Gryffindor in even more trouble. Hermione petrifies him to get past anyway, but he later wins points from Dumbledore for having the courage to stand up to his friends. Good call, Dumbledore!
21 Quirrell Takes His Turban Off And Makes Everyone Uncomfortable
We knew there was something fishy about Professor Quirrell from the second we laid eyes on him. For most of Harry’s first year, he’s the stuttering Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and the movie’s most iconic moment is when he takes off his scarf to reveal (spoiler alert) Voldemort living like a parasite on the back of his head. And yes, we’re still suspicious of anyone wearing conspicuous hats. Do they have an evil wizard living on the back of their head? Who knows?
20 Harry Duels Malfoy, With No Help From Lockhart
Dueling is part of being a wizard. It’s much more heavily featured in the later films, as Harry and the gang grow up and have to start battling bad guys. But Harry’s first taste of this ancient art comes in the Chamber of Secrets film, where he’s pitted against Malfoy. Of course, Malfoy plays dirty, and Harry gets knocked off his feet. When Malfoy conjures a snake, Harry unknowingly speaks Parseltongue in front of everyone to get rid of it.
19 Everyone Thinks Harry Is The Heir Of Slytherin, Hence The Polyjuice Potion Plan
Harry speaking parseltongue is one link in a chain of events that leads the whole school to think that he’s the heir of Slytherin. We do love Harry, but he’s really bad at being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s a lot of tension for a while until the other students realize that even though Harry is a Parselmouth, and he keeps showing up near people who’ve been petrified, he actually has nothing to do with the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. To clear Harry's name, the trio comes up with a plan to impersonate Slytherins (with the help of a little polyjuice potion) and try to get Malfoy to confess.
18 Harry Takes His First Ride On Buckbeak, And It's Epic
It’s a magic moment when Harry takes his first ride on Buckbeak and soars over the green countryside. He’s first introduced to the hippogriff while Hagrid is teaching Care of Magical Creatures in the third film. Most people are intimidated by Buckbeak, but Harry instantly gets along with him and has the time of his life flying on his back. Malfoy and his father get poor Buckbeak executed, so thankfully (and typically) Dumbledore has a plan to save his life.
17 Snape Protects The Trio From Lupin The Werewolf
Professor Lupin is one of the cooler Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers during Harry’s time at Hogwarts, but it turns out that like all of them, he has a secret. Being a werewolf, he turns into a vicious wolf-like monster at every full moon. He nearly attacks Harry, Ron, and Hermione before Sirius transforms into a dog and helps defend them. But Snape protecting the trio behind his back is super impressive and sweet considering he hates them.
16 Harry And Hermione Go Back In Time To Save The Day
Toward the end of the third film, Harry fails to save Buckbeak from the executioner, and he also learns that Sirius has been captured and sentenced to the Dementor’s Kiss. Following Dumbledore’s subtle cues, Harry and Hermione use her Time Turner to watch their night again and make changes to fix the future. And rejoice! They manage to save both Buckbeak and Sirus from unfair sentences. The introduction of time-traveling brings up a lot of questions for fans, but that’s another can of worms.
15 Hermione Dazzles At The Yule Ball And Ron Is So Jealous
One of the most exciting things about the Harry Potter franchise is that we get to see these kids grow into adults. Hermione in particular is a vision as she transforms from boofy-haired child to total stunner. The Yule Ball in the fourth film is probably the defining moment where we know that our trio aren’t kids anymore. When Hermione descends into the ballroom wearing her spectacular pink dress, it sinks in that the gang are officially teenagers.
14 The Triwizard Tournament: Harry Enters The Maze And We Say Goodbye To Cedric Diggory
The final challenge that Harry must face in order to win the Triwizard Tournament in the fourth film is a creepy maze that seems to be alive. All the challenges in the tournament are tough, but when we see Harry and the other competitors coming face-to-face with the towering leafy walls of the maze, we know something serious is about to go down. And even without the secret plot to take Harry’s life, the maze is a pretty horrible place.
13 Voldemort Is No Longer A Creepy Baby, He Is Reborn!
What Harry finds in the maze (or rather in the graveyard that he’s transported to after touching the Portkey in the maze) is worse than he could have possibly imagined. In the graveyard he witnesses Voldemort being reborn—returning to continue his work of rallying followers and terrorizing the wizarding world. And of course, this grim graveyard is where we lose Cedric Diggory. The worst part about this part of the story is that basically nobody believes Harry really saw Voldemort.
12 Umbridge Punishes Harry, Again And Again
Professor Quirrell might have had Voldemort living on the back of his head, but he certainly wasn’t the worst Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. In our opinion, Dolores Umbridge was the worst DADA teacher (and yes, Professor Lockhart was considered in that equation). Umbridge refuses to acknowledge that Voldemort is back, has brutal punishments waiting for those who do, won’t allow the students to prepare themselves to fight, and is infuriatingly polite. We basically spent the entire fifth film planning her demise.
11 Umbridge Gets Her Comeuppance In The Forest (With A Little Help From Centaurs)
Thankfully, J.K. Rowling was one step ahead of us and orchestrated the perfect revenge against Umbridge. At the end of the fourth film, when we’ve all well and truly had enough of her, Harry and Hermione lead her into the forest, where they run into a herd of centaurs. Umbridge is awful to anybody who’s not a pureblood wizard, so these creatures don’t have any nice surprises waiting for her. They do drag her away kicking and screaming, which still gives us all immense joy.
10 Our Hearts All Break: Dumbledore Falls From The Astronomy Tower
Harry (and the rest of Hogwarts) relies on Dumbledore to guide him through dangerous situations, provide answers to the trickiest questions, and have his back when his life is threatened. But at the end of the sixth film, Dumbledore meets his end when he is blasted off the astronomy tower by Professor Snape. Later, we find out that this was all pre-planned by Dumbledore himself for the greater good, but it still had us crying for days the first time we saw it.
9 It's Getting Pretty Dark: Hermione Has To Obliviate Her Parents’ Memories
Things get really serious in the last two films, when Harry, Hermione and Ron decide to forget about Hogwarts and set off in search of the horcruxes instead. At this stage, the wizarding world has become dangerous with Death Eaters and supporters of Voldemort running around, so Hermione decides the best thing she can possibly do for her muggle parents is obliviate their memories. We watch as she casts her spell, and they forget that their only daughter ever existed.
8 He Can't Handle The Locket: Ron Starts To Lose It In The Woods
Don’t you love an angry Ronald Weasley? While the trio are in the wilderness searching for horcruxes, they take turns wearing Slytherin’s locket until they can figure out how to destroy it. Though wearing the locket doesn’t make anyone feel good, Ron is especially susceptible to its powers, and becomes irrationally angry and paranoid. Eventually, he turns on Harry and Hermione and takes off during a mega tantrum. Nobody’s better friends than these three, so it’s hard to watch them separate.
7 Harry And Hermione Take A Sweet Moment To Dance
The pressure is really on in the last two movies, while Snape is in control of Hogwarts, Death Eaters are running amok and the good side has been driven underground. But despite all the craziness going on, Harry and Hermione somehow find the courage to take a moment out and dance together. Briefly, they forget all the darkness surrounding them and get lost in a twinkling of happiness before facing the world again. This is one of the most beautiful moments of the series.
6 Harry Returns To Godric’s Hollow (It Was A Bad Idea)
From the moment we first found out that Lily and James Potter were executed in their own house in Godric’s Hollow, we knew Harry would return sooner or later. One really emotional scene is when he visits Godric’s Hollow with Hermione and comes across his parents’ graves in the local cemetery. While in the village, Harry and Hermione are also lured into Bathilda Bagshot’s dilapidated cottage, where they are nearly assassinated by Voldemort’s snake Nagini, which has taken over her body.
5 Voldemort Gets The Elder Wand (Does He Really, Though?)
Just in case you didn’t think that Harry and the Order of the Phoenix had enough to worry about with the return of Voldemort, the Dark Lord gets his hands on the Elder Wand just before the Battle of Hogwarts. This is the most powerful wand in existence, however, he fails to recognize that since Snape disarmed Dumbledore, the previous owner of the wand, it’s loyal to Snape and not Voldemort. Thankfully Voldemort doesn’t have the wand for too long—he could have really done some damage!
4 The Trio Returns To Hogwarts... And We Get The Kiss We've All Been Waiting For
Moments to smile about in the final film are few and far between, however, one scene that basically gets every fan up and jumping is when Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneak back into Hogwarts after being away for so long. Their loyal friends are waiting for them and delighted to see them, since they’ve come to save the day. They are able to get back into the guarded castle through a secret passageway that they enter from Hogsmeade. And the best part, Ron and Hermione go on to share their first kiss!
3 We All Fall In Love With Snape... And Cry Our Eyes Out
Snape is probably one of the most complex characters out there, and after he dies, we find out exactly what his deal is (because he’s hard to read throughout the entire series). Using the Pensieve, Harry watches Snape’s memories of being in love with Lily and being bullied by James. We discover that Snape was distraught when Lily died, and dedicated his life to defeating Voldemort and protecting Harry. The image of Snape crying over Lily still gets us to this day.
2 The Big Finale: Harry And Voldemort Battle It Out
During the Battle of Hogwarts, there is one moment that it all comes down to, and that is the duel between Harry and Voldemort. This is the final confrontation between good and evil, and of course, good triumphs in the end. Though Harry must sacrifice everything to end his connection to Voldemort, he does it proudly and ends up defeating the Dark Lord and saving the wizarding world. We were waiting for this since the first film, and we weren’t disappointed!
1 We Find Out How It Ends, Though We Wish It Wouldn't!
After Harry has saved the world, we get a flash to the future to see how things really end for the gang. Naturally, Harry and Ginny are married with kids, one of whom is named Albus Severus Potter. Ron and Hermione are married with their own brood, and the wizarding world is at peace again. Though we wish the story could continue on forever, we’re glad that we got to see our beloved characters achieve the happy ending they deserve.