Ah, yes, the two things that I have dedicated more of my free time to than anything else: the Harry Potter series and the behind-the-scenes featurettes that accompany my favorite films. I could not tell you how many rainy, snowy, or even sunny afternoons in my life have been spent cozied up on the couch with my faded Winnie the Pooh blanket and the sounds of either a Harry Potter film or a lengthy behind the scenes documentary filling the room. Though I often refrained from watching the Harry Potter featurettes while growing up, out of fear that knowing the secrets behind the magic would unravel its power for me, I find that it has had the opposite effect.
Seeing the joy, comfort, and fun that the actors who brought my favorite characters to life experienced while making these wonderful and beloved films somehow makes them even more special. Knowing that, though stressful at times, these films were primarily a pleasant and rewarding experience for all involved is both comforting and exciting in and of itself. I like knowing that these children (now grown-ups) dedicated the better part of their lives to date (i.e. their entire childhoods) to something that brought them joy and fulfillment.
So, in order to do what I can to spread this joy to as many people as possible, I have collected a series of behind the scenes photos from the first three Harry Potter films to share with you, the good people of the internet. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.
24 Grand Chess Masters
Everything about this photo simply oozes the utmost level of comfort to me. The Christmas trees that litter the background remind viewers of the coziest time of year. Their oversized cozy sweaters, the familiar setting of the film that raised me, and the characters that became my best friends at a very young age provides a sense of comfort that exudes from the photo. The warm hue of the photo itself emits a nostalgic feeling that reminds me of home. And, in a way, these films are home to a lot of people. And I like that.
23 Ready For Anything
The level of cuteness contained within this photo nearly brought tears to my eyes. I mean, look at them! They are so small. Look at Rupert’s little face! Look at Emma’s serious gaze and adorable white tights.
She is ready to work and she is determined to do the best job that she possibly can.
The steely look of resoluteness on her face is almost intimidating. She is ready to prove to everyone on that set that she was meant to play this role. How very Hermione of her. They truly are their characters.
22 The Most Powerful Hallow
The first scene involving Ron and Harry using the cloak to visit the Mirror of Erised in the midst of the night was filmed in two sections which were divided by a lengthy break dedicated to filming other scenes for the film. Filmmakers noted that Rupert’s voice had dropped during this break and often joked that he “went through [coming-of-age] under that cloak” as his voice was almost notably lower once they removed the cloak after finding that hidden mirror.
21 Pint-Sized Heroes
As is common in the filming industry, the final scenes of a film are often the first ones filmed. I am not sure why this is done but that is the way of the industry and who am I to question it. In this scene, the costume department did everything it could to make things as accurate to the source material as possible. These efforts included fitting Emma with fake bucked teeth and Daniel with green contacts. But these efforts were quickly scraped as Daniel had a terrible and painful reaction to the lenses and those teeth made it impossible for Emma to clearly recite her lines.
20 Chilled To The Bone
I think one of the most difficult aspects of the filming experience would be acting as if I was not affected by my environment.
When I am cold, there is nothing that can keep me from shivering as if my life depended on it.
My teeth chatter, my limbs shake, and I stutter every word I attempt to speak. I would immediately enter the foulest of moods if anyone requested that I step out of my warm blanket or coat in order to carry on with a scene.
19 Capture The Bigger Picture
New directors bring new things to the series and I love seeing how each new director enacts their specific vision. My favourite non-plot related aspect of the third film in the series is the addition of casual dress at Hogwarts. Seeing the children dressed in their normal clothes between classes really brought a new shade of immersion to the film. It allowed the characters to express and establish their own personalities outside of their actions as well as making Hogwarts feel like a more comfortable and homey place.
18 On The Cutting Room Floor
It is rather unfortunate that Hermione was forced to spend a decent portion of both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets in the hospital. But that did not stop her from doing everything she could to solve the mysteries that the children dedicated themselves to. As we can see in this still from a scene which, unfortunately, did not make it into the final cut of the films. Even being trapped in a petrified state could not stop her from helping her friends.
17 Rebellious Youths
One of my favourite moments in the entire series is when Molly marches downstairs to question her boys on their absence and brief dabbling in grand theft auto. I just love the contrast between her scorning those boys and her making sure that Harry felt comfortable and at home in the Burrow. Sometimes I wonder whether or not Arthur would have even noticed his presence at that breakfast table had he had his mother’s red hair and father’s eyes rather than the inverse. Those raids really do take it out of you.
16 Like Godfather, Like Director
It’s like looking in a mirror. Well, for Sirius. Not for me. I truly believe that this still underlines the stark similarities in appearance between the character of Sirius Black and the director of the third film.
They look as if they could be brothers.
This director could have been a shoo-in for the role of Regulus Black. Too bad the films almost entirely skipped over that poor boy's tragic story. Hopefully, the eventual remakes vindicate him and make his intense and heroic sacrifices known.
15 A Hagrid Of Any Other Size
Nothing in this mortal world could be stranger than the sight of a regular sized Hagrid. I am so used to seeing Hagrid impressively tower over literally everyone that he crosses that this juxtaposition is absolutely jarring, to say the least. Seeing Hagrid standing beside another human and them both being relatively the same size is almost overwhelming in its oddity. The only logical conclusion is that this director is also a half-giant. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that Buckbeak was a clever combination of practical effects and CGI.
14 Reptilian Hygiene
The basilisk remains one of the scariest creatures in the entire series, seconded by Remus in werewolf form, and thirded/followed by the dementors. However, seeing his eyes closed while he patiently sits there and gets a luxurious, spa-like-cleaning removes a lot of the fears I have surrounding the beast.
He looks positively serene.
Nothing intimidating or life threatening about him. Of course, I do recognize the fact that the second those eyes open and he begins to thrash about, my fears will come back full force.
13 A Moment Of Levity
My favourite thing about behind the scenes featurettes and stills is seeing the actors take a break, goof off, and enjoy themselves when the camera (well, the main camera) is not rolling. I like seeing actors be themselves in costume (especially if that costume includes ghastly prosthetics, injuries, or period clothing) and nothing tickles me like seeing characters taking a break to share a laugh or two in the midst of a serious and intense scene. I like knowing that love, joy, and happiness went into the media that I spend my time consuming.
12 If The Hat Fits
There’s just something about being expected to don a large and talking hat in front of a thousand of your new classmates and teachers while it judges the content of your mind that freaks me out a little bit. I mean, that hat will call out a single word that will cause everyone who does not intimately know you to make assumptions and judgements about your character for the literal rest of your life. I would be curious to know what the fact that everyone who ever meets me immediately knows that I am a Hufflepuff says about me.
11 My Great Big Aunt
Oh come on, admit it. You were overjoyed when Aunt Marge blew up like a mylar balloon after daring to insult James and Lily Potter. It’s an outrage! It’s a scandal! How dare she insinuate that the Potter’s were anything but the greatest heroes of their generation? One of the best aspects of this film is the fact that you can see her floating in the sky (and hear her muffled screams) while Harry flees the Dursley’s rotten home and travel to the poorly-lit neighborhood park.
10 A Sassy Hermione
Seeing Emma snap out a bit of sass is one of the greatest joys in this mortal life. Like Hermione, Emma Watson has created a pure, lovely, eloquent, and softly formidable public persona for herself that could revival that of a Disney Princess. So seeing her letting loose, letting go, and letting out a bit of that adolescent attitude (as a gag) is thoroughly entertaining. This is one Z snap and irritated flip phone snap away from being the absolute embodiment of early 2000s teen attitude. I think I may have accidentally dated myself with that sentence.
9 Last Minute Direction
This photo is a photographers dream. Look at the shadows and the way that the lamp light illuminates Daniel’s face. The limited light sources, visual effects provided by the older camera, wooden decor, golden accents, and fact that the subjects don’t even acknowledge the fact that the photo is being taken (as they are so dedicated to their conversation) makes this photo a thing of aesthetic beauty.
Social media bloggers wish that they could replicate this level of retro filter and candid energy. There, have I managed to re-establish my youthful hipness? Hello? Fellow kids?
8 Fresh Faces & Awkward Phases
Look at them! Look at those babies! Look at their pure, innocent, little faces! I might find myself in an early grave if I continue to be exposed to this level of unadulterated adorableness. Look at Emma’s coy little smirk, raised eyebrow, and tilted head. The sass is real with this one. Rupert looks like he isn’t quite sure what is happening, but he is content with just going along with whatever those around him have planned. And Daniel is just excited to be there. In every situation, I am Daniel.
7 Directors Caught On Film
Forgive my geeking out, but I absolutely love photos of people taking photos of the person taking a photo of them. Looking at this photo, I can’t help but wonder what the other angle looked like. I wonder if muggle cameras even work on Hogwarts grounds or if they are mechanical enough to go haywire due to all of the magic in the atmosphere. Oh, where is Hermione when you need her? Maybe I can find the answer in my handy dandy weatherworn copy of Hogwarts: A History.
6 The Many Skills Of Emma
Seeing actors goof off on set is the best aspect of behind the scenes featurettes. Look at that cheeky grin on Emma’s face. She is enjoying this spontaneous makeover far more than her client is. Look at the expression of mild horror on the face of the man in the background. I wonder if he is worried that a bored Emma might target him next during her next moment of downtime on-set. Although, it has to be said that I think that Emma’s client looks rather dashing with his series of tiny buns and should consider adding this look to his rotation.
5 A Lesson In Herbology
Now, take a good, hard, long look at this photo and tell me what you see. Go on, take your time. Are you seeing what I am seeing?
Because I am seeing a pack of uninformed muggles that are handling a mandrake in a manner so reckless that Madame Sprout must be doing everything she can not to throw them out of Greenhouse 2 and onto their behinds. No earmuffs, no gloves, no protection of any sort. What a terrible example that these muggles are setting for the children.
4 Prelude To A Werewolf
It was literal years after the third film in the series was released that I had built up enough courage to watch it on a regular basis. Before that point, it was a spooky but necessary part of every Harry Potter marathon I chose to hold in my bedroom. Every aspect of that film is just absolutely spooky. The dementors, the executor, the werewolf transformation, the concept of time travel, the grim, Sirius Black and his dramatic nature, the Shrieking Shack, the Whomping Willow, those shrunken heads, the entire Boggart scene… it was all too much for me.
3 A Deviation From The Lesson Plan
Seeing notebooks and modern dress so casually used in a Hogwarts classroom has made me wonder what would happen if they retired their ancient aesthetic and modernized things in order to keep up with the muggle world. Would there be protests? Would students rejoice in the ability to use laptops rather than ink pots, quills, and rolls of parchment? Would they prefer the PDF versions of their textbooks or would they lament the good old days and wish that things would have never changed in the first place?
2 Hermione's Close Up
Once again, we see the characters enacting their own personal touches on the standard Hogwarts uniform. I wonder if Hermione ever found herself annoyed that Ron could never seem to get himself together long enough to tuck in his shirt and comb his hair. Of course, there were times when Hermione removed her cloak, rolled up those sleeves, and got to work.
But it seems like Ron believes that he would burst into flames if he had to wear his uniform properly. Wow, I think Hermione herself found a way to channel herself through me and ghost-wrote this entire paragraph.
1 Fast Friends From The Start
Look at them. They look like two, normal, young boys. Not a care in the world. At this point in their lives, they are anonymous to the world. Someday soon, they will be responsible for a large part of an entire franchise which will alter the course of their lives forever. They have no idea how big this movie that they have been cast in will become and how it will change their lives (and the lives of millions of children just like them). They have no idea. But for now, they are just children. And there is something just so heartwarmingly beautiful about that fact.