“Time to Come Home”: Returning to Hogwarts in “Crimes of Grindelwald”
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Our first trip down memory lane in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is to the Ministry of Magic. Not gonna lie, seeing the familiar fountains, fireplaces, and doors of the Ministry’s corridors was pretty exciting. But when the camera sweeps over (what is supposed to be) the green hills of Scotland and “Hedwig’s Theme” swells through the air, it’s hard not to succumb to complete nostalgia as Hogwarts Castle rises on the horizon.
The look and feel of the castle are a little different than it was in the Harry Potter series (as it would be, decades before Harry showed up for his first year), yet it is the Hogwarts we’ve been missing. It’s like driving down the road to an old childhood home and walking through it – other people may live there and have changed things up a bit, but the setting still feels familiar and is completely recognizable.
From our roundtable interviews with the cast and David Heyman, we did learn that the Hogwarts bridge was the only part of the exterior Hogwarts that was built. Everything else was green screened.
It was quite nostalgic when I read the script. You see the connected tissue to ‘Harry Potter’ becoming stronger. Yeah, it was really moving. I confess the set was not as elaborate as it was on the eight ‘Harry Potter’ films. It was a bridge with nothing about relevant, and that was all that I could do. So in terms of emotions and sentiment, it probably wasn’t as extraordinary as it might have been had we actually built a lot more of it.
As for the inside of the castle, once the group of Ministry leaders Apparates onto the recreated Hogwarts bridge (apparently, Apparition onto school grounds is allowed) and strolls through those familiar entrance doors, we can’t help but hold our breath. The heavy locks on the door, the clock tower, and its giant cogs…. just sit back and sigh with content.
We are then taken to a familiar decorated classroom – Defense Against the Dark Arts. That same old dragon skeleton hanging from the ceiling is apparently a permanent fixture of the room. We also couldn’t help but notice that the boggart’s wardrobe looks strikingly similar to the one Professor Lupin brought to class in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s nice to see steadfast tradition. It was comforting to be back in class where Hogwarts curriculum hasn’t changed in 60 years (nor have the teachers, apparently) – Dumbledore’s teaching of the boggart lesson follows almost the same execution methods as Professor Lupin’s.
We see the most of Hogwarts as we walk with Leta through the castle. She, too, is reminiscing about her Hogwarts days as she walks through the castle – casting a longing look at the Great Hall for us – and finds an old desk of hers. Through her memories of Newt and Hogwarts in their younger years, we get to see more of the Hogwarts grounds – the Black Lake and the huge knobby trees surrounding it. Even though Hogwarts wasn’t home for Leta (another case of arrogant Gryffindor bullies picking on a wounded Slytherin), we are glad to be transported back to our old stomping grounds with her.
Hogwarts uniforms were slightly more stylish with Colleen Atwood’s revamped Hogwarts robes, dark blue with black velvet trimmings. House colors line the hoods and House patches have a little more flare to them. It was still heartening to see groups of Hogwarts students walking about in familiar uniforms.
Professor Dumbledore resides at Hogwarts for most of the film. Harkening back to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we find him, at one point, alone in a vast room standing in front of a mirror – the same mirror in a similar room that he’d find Harry sitting in front of almost 70 years later. As gut-wrenching as this scene is, it’s hard to fight off the nostalgia of the return of the Mirror of Erised.
What are you looking forward to seeing again at Hogwarts? We can’t wait to join you on your journey back when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is released on November 16.