When I was 13, I went to see “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with my best friend, her mom and her brother. It was 2001, and from what I can vaguely remember, it was a good time.
But for some reason, I never went back to the theater to see the rest of the “Harry Potter” movies, nor did I watch them from the comfort of my couch.Why is that, you say? Well, I don’t know. I tried listening to a bit of J.K. Rowling’s book series on tape, but I eventually gave up on story time in order to save more minutes for karaoke and collecting Spice Girls lollipops.
Now, at 29 years old, I finally watched the franchise from start to finish, over the course of four days ― and it was freakin’ magical.
WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG??
I similarly watched the original “Star Wars” trilogy for the first time back in 2015. Then, like now, I was chastised for being an entertainment journalist who’s never seen one of the most popular film series of all time. (To be honest, I’ve been too busy rewatching “The Lord of the Rings” extended editions to care about any other fantasy world.)
But you know what? I did the unthinkable, people. And now you get to relive the franchise through my eyes while reading the 194 thoughts I had while watching the “Harry Potter” movies for the first time. You’re welcome.
”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
1. Oh, my God, look at baby Daniel Radcliffe!
2. This Dursley family sucks.
3. Why couldn’t we all have gone shopping for school supplies on Diagon Alley before secretly hopping through a wall to take a train to a mysterious and magical castle-like wizarding school? Life isn’t fair.
4. I am so for this Harry, Ron, Hermione friendship/eventual love triangle?
5. Team Gryffindor is the best, yes. But would have liked to see one of Harry’s pals be selected for a different house. Mix things up, Sorting Hat!
6. Hagrid for President 2020.
7. There’s something up with this Snape guy. He knows Harry and he’s either going to try to kill him (too obvious) or he’s his biological father (they don’t really look alike, though).
8. Quidditch looks fun. But why does Harry have to be good at everything?
9. Dumbledore is Gandalf. Gandalf is Dumbledore. Life is great.
10. Fluffy is clearly not a nice dog.
11. Voldemort. AHHHHHH!
12. Neville Longbottom ends up being the unsung hero of this entire franchise, right?
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
13. Dobby is my new favorite character.
14. Flying cars are clearly very convenient.
15. Ginny and Harry definitely have something brewing, right??
16. Fireplace transportation = risky.
17. Literally every famous Brit is in these movies. (Hey, Kenneth Branagh.)
18. Could you imagine receiving talking telegrams from your mom? Yikes.
19. Were those sound effects for Harry’s wobbly arm necessary? My takeout is now not sitting as nicely in my stomach.
20. Still think Snape’s somehow a good guy ...
21. Harry speaking snake language = creepy as heck.
23. Tom Riddle is a memory preserved in a diary? Sure.
24. Wait. TOM RIDDLE IS VOLDEMORT?!?!
25. This basilisk scene is like watching the raptors chase Laura Dern in “Jurassic Park.”
26. Why is everything so convenient for Harry? A phoenix shows up? And a magical sword just appears for him to use to kill the basilisk? He always wins!
27. Riddle might be gone but Voldemort is lurking, duh ...
28. Hermione is back! Better yet, Hagrid is back!
29. “There’s no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid.” (Crying.)
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
30. The Dursleys deserve this Violet-blowing-up-in-”Willy Wonka” scene. Bye, Marge!
31. Knight Bus makes me dizzy.
32. “That is Sirius Black.” No, my friend, that is Gary Oldman.
33. Dumbledore looks different.
34. These Dementors are no joke. They’re like the Ringwraiths from “LOTR.”
35. Professor Trelawney is my spirit animal. (As is Emma Thompson.)
36. Buckbeak did what we all want to do to Draco.
37. If only we can use the magical wardrobe to turn our fears of the president into something funny ...
38. Werewolves are in “Harry Potter”??
39. Snape just called Hermione an “insufferable know-it-all.” Now I hate him.
40. Quidditch never turns out well for Harry these days.
41. The Weasley twins are very underrated.
42. The Marauder’s Map is invasive and cool at the same time. But who’s Peter Pettigrew?
43. Remus Lupin seems to be breaking the so-called curse on Dark Arts professors ... for now.
44. Hold up, Lupin is a werewolf?! And he’s bad?!
45. Scabbers is a man? This is wild stuff!
46. OMG! This time travel switch-up is awesome. Welcome back, Buckbeak!
47. Sirius Black 💖
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
48. Not diggin’ this long hair on Harry.
49. Oh hey, Robert Pattinson!
50. Harry and Ron not being friends in this movie KILLS me. Come on, guys!
51. Mad-Eye Moody is the man.
52. This journalist is not as likable.
53. When dragons show up on screen, it’s always a good thing.
54. Maggie Smith saying “bambling, bumbling band of baboons” was the highlight of this one.
55. Awww, Hagrid has a girlfriend!
56. Ron “attempting” to ask Hermione to the dance 😂
57. Ron’s dress robes 😂
58. The swim challenge was so intense.
59. RPatz barely speaks in this movie, what the heck!
60. And then he dies?! Poor Cedric.
61. Mini Voldemort will haunt my dreams ...
62. ... As will the actual Voldemort! Scary doesn’t even cover it.
63. Ugh, that Cedric death reveal scene is brutal.
64. “This dreadful loss reminds me, reminds us, while we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.” Great note to end on.
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
65. Dudley Dursley is now known as “Big D,” and that’s fantastic.
66. Whoa, the Dementors just went all “Hocus Pocus” on us.
67. Expelled?! What’s “Harry Potter” without Harry at Hogwarts?
68. Moody and the Order to the rescue! (Also, more famous Brits join in on the fun ― hey, Osha [Natalia Tena] from “Game of Thrones.”)
69. Flying on a broomstick through the city looks so fun.
70. Of course Hermione and Ron are at Headquarters ― best friends for life.
71. SERIOUSLY LOVE SIRIUS.
72. The Ministry of Magic is pretty darn cool. Also, Harry in a suit jacket ― precious.
73. Dumbledore is always there when you need him. Very reliable.
74. I don’t like Madam Undersecretary.
75. Luna Lovegood is like the “Harry Potter”-version of Anna Faris, and I’m obsessed with her.
76. Harry went from fan favorite to Public Enemy No. 1. 😞
77. Ugh, Madam Undersecretary, aka Dolores Umbridge, is at Hogwarts now???
78. Imelda Staunton is brilliant. Creepy never looked so pink.
79. Still love the Weasley twins.
80. What are these winged horse skeletons?
81. That Professor Trelawney scene though ...
82. When Hermione says she’s excited to break the rules and create an army my heart was like, “Go, girl!”
83. Not sure if I’m 100 percent into this Cho romance ...
84. But Hermione standing up for Cho’s emotions is lovely.
85. Voldemort and Harry are linked?! OMG, make it stop!
86. Love the wallpaper family tree lesson, Sirius.
87. Helena Bonham Carter!!!
88. “Full-bodied Patronus.” 😂
89. Hell yeah, Dumbledore’s got style.
90. Firework shows are always epic, but this one is A+ work.
91. Umbridge just slapped Harry!
92. Giant vs. Dolores ― been waiting for this all movie.
93. “Sorry, professor, I must not tell lies.” 👏
94. Bellatrix Lestrange just killed Sirius and I’m devastated. (Also, the last 20 minutes of this movie were phenomenal.)
95. Dumbledore vs. Voldemort is such a good fight.
96. Come on, Harry. Fight off the possession! (Crying.)
97. This was by far my favorite movie of the series. And, all praise Luna Lovegood.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
98. We definitely need “Dumbledore & Harry: The Buddy Cop Drama.”
99. Aw, Horace is an armchair. How delightful.
100. Don’t we all wish cleaning up a house was that easy.
101. Reunions are the best, right? (Ginny and Harry turn up the chemistry!)
102. Of course Snape is with the Dark Side. Ugh.
103. And he’s going to help Draco complete his dark mission? Bigger ugh.
104. Love Potion No. 9.
105. Of course Harry finds the most amazing potions textbook ever. (And Hermione is so confused.)
106. Young Tom Riddle deserves his own horror movie.
107. Ooohhh, Hermione has a thing for Ron!
108. I want some of that dessert at Slughorn’s dinner party.
109. Ron on performance-enhancing drugs. 😂
110. Wait, sad Hermione is not a good Hermione at all. Get it together, Ron!
111. Hermione crying on Harry’s shoulder has me crying on my own shoulder.
112: ALERT! Cringey cookie-feeding between Ginny and Harry. ALERT!
113. Nothing good ever happens in a cornfield.
114. I have nice skin, right guys?!
115. Love-potioned Ron ... 😂
116. Hermione-Lavender fight is giving me life. Her-mi-o-ne.
117. Draco and Harry finally face off, yes!
118. Ginny and Harry KISS. (Uneventful, tbh.)
119. Pulling memories from your head is the new thing, apparently.
120. Yeah, I beg your pardon. A what?? Horcrux??? Slughorn, WHY???
121. This cave does NOT look safe.
122. Nor does this dirty water-potion Dumbledore is drinking.
123. OMG, WHAT IS IN THE WATER!!! It’s like the White Walkers from “Game of Thrones,” but in water!
124. Draco, NO!
125. Severus, NO!
126. Wait, is Dumbledore dead?!
127. I hate Snape.
128. Crying. My. Eyes. Out. For. Dumbledore.
129. The hunt for the Horcruxes begins.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”
130. Bill Nighy!
131. We finally meet Hermione’s parents ... in the saddest moment ever.
132. Voldemort’s counsel meetings are clearly black-tie affairs.
133. Every time Harry, Hermione and Ron reunite, I cry a little.
134. Domhnall Gleeson!!
135. OMG, multiple Harry Potters = brilliant.
136. Car chase in “Harry Potter”? I’ll take it.
137. Mad Eye is dead?? Nooooo.
138. Champagne flutes refill themselves?! Epic wedding.
139. Spoke too soon ...
140. Umbridge is back, ugh.
141. Hermione and Ron playing piano. 😍
143. The trio in disguise is great entertainment.
144. “And one must not tell lies!” Take that, Umbridge.
145. Poor Ron got splinched!
146. This necklace has the same effects as the One Ring from “LOTR.”
147. Ron’s going nuts, what’s happening?!
149. Dance parties always help.
150. What a way to spend Christmas, huh?
151. Get out of this house, Harry!
152. Get out of the icy water, Harry!
154. Wait, Harry and Hermione kissing is weird AF.
155. The Tale of Three Brothers. The Deathly Hallows. It all makes sense. Maybe. Kind of. I don’t know what to think.
156. This movie makes me very paranoid.
157. Bellatrix is f***ing crazy.
158. “Dobby has no master! Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends.” I AM HEARTBROKEN.
159. Voldemort has the Elder Wand, so, like, crap.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
160. Snape is headmaster???
161. Helena Bonham Carter’s impression of Hermione is dead-on.
162. Is this bank ride featured at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
163. Never trust a goblin, Potter.
164. Dragons always make for good entertainment.
165. Whenever the “Harry Potter” theme really kicks in, things feel a bit more hopeful.
166. McGonagall, I’ve missed you.
167. “I see dead people.”
168. So happy Neville is here to save the day.
169. THE KISS WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! (It deserves its own GIF.)
170. Neville & Luna?? Awww.
172. Hogwarts under attack. 😞
173. This is a brutal death, even for Snape. Yeesh.
174. Why did everyone have to die? Oh my God, this is devastating.
175. I always knew there was something up with Snape, but THIS. What a wonderfully complicated and complex character, who was truly there for Harry this entire time. My mind is blown. And now I’m just heartbroken all over again.
176. Harry is a Horcrux?! Oh, this is just too much. I can’t handle it all.
178. I. Can’t. Watch. This. S**t. Unfold.
179. Resurrection stone! Oh my, this is lovely. Hi, Mom and Dad.
180. Voldemort’s profile is just the scariest thing ever.
181. EW, BLOODIED MINI VOLDEMORT!
182. Dumbledore, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
183. Let me take this moment to note how grown-up Daniel Radcliffe looks.
184. Harry, I know you’re not dead! Come on, wake up!
185. Why didn’t Ralph Fiennes win an Oscar for this performance?
187. Mrs. Weasley for the win!
188. The suspense is killing me! Harry, just kill this dude already!
189. Again, Neville!!! Always knew he was a keeper.
190. Voldemort literally peeled away. Epic.
191. The Elder Wand is Harry’s. YAS.
192. 19 YEARS LATER? How can we skip all that time?
193. Awww, Potter and Weasley kids! (And a Snape tribute.)
194. A new generation of Hogwarts begins! Chills.
From June 1 to 30, HuffPost is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the very first “Harry Potter” book by reminiscing about all things Hogwarts. Accio childhood memories.