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Harry Potter at 20: GoMN team picks their favorite bits from the books

We've delved into the Pensieve to relive our favorite moments from the famous series.
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Want to feel old? The first Harry Potter book was released 20 years ago today.

That's right. J.K. Rowling's global phenomenon first hit the shelves as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (changed to Sorcerer's Stone for U.S. audiences) on June 26, 1997.

To honor this nostalgic landmark, the GoMN team delved into the Pensieve to relive some of their favorite moments from the series.

Favorite character

Severus Snape. "His arc from book 3 onwards is the best of all the main characters and it has the ultimate payoff in the Deathly Hallows. Also was a user of 'sectumsempra,' which is probably the most badass curse outside of 'Avada Kedavra.'" – Adam Uren.


Sirius Black: Hands down. His story is crazy and complex, and I appreciate everything he did for his friends and Harry Potter. Plus, he escaped Azkaban by transforming into a dog – that’s just great." – Melissa Turtinen.

Mad-Eye Moody. "He’s a badass, is competent at his job, has an awesome magic eyeball thing, and seems like a great mentor. Though I guess he might have been fake-Moody for some of that … but oh well." – Shaymus McLaughlin.

Hermione Granger: "A rather cliché answer, but when I was reading the books as a kid I just really was able to relate to Hermione and I even wanted to be her growing up. Her drive to be better than everyone and wanting to do more than a 24-hour cycle allows is still very relatable to me as well." – Hannah Olson.

Least favorite character

Dobby. "His character felt like one long diatribe against indentured servitude, human rights and the arrogance of the wealthy. Not saying those things aren't important, but his depiction was too cutesy, too obvious, too preachy. Plus that whole Hermione S.P.E.W. storyline of book four was boring as hell." – AU.

Dolores Umbridge. "She annoyed me so much, and was a bad person overall." – MT.

"Her incredible love of cats and torturing Harry by making him write 'I must not tell lies' makes me cringe just thinking about it." – HO.

Whiny hormonal Ron. "Regular Ron is fine – he seems nice enough, fun to hang out with. But when he starts to get all pissy with Harry, then later with Hermione (and is dating Lavender Brown just to irk her) he's obnoxious. It’s the biggest flaw in my favorite book of the series (Half-Blood Prince); that arc goes on way too long," – SM.

Rank the books in order – best to worst

Adam Uren:Prisoner of Azkaban, Deathly HallowsHalf-Blood PrincePhilosopher's Stone (I'm British, so I'm calling it that), Goblet of Fire, Order of Phoenix and Chamber of Secrets.

Melissa Turtinen:Azkaban, Goblet, Half-Blood Prince, Hallows, Phoenix, Chamber, Sorcerer's Stone. Now I want to go reread the series ...

Hannah Olson:Sorcerer's Stone, Hallows, Azkaban, Phoenix, Chamber, Half-Blood Prince, Goblet.

Shaymus McLaughlin:Half-Blood Prince, Goblet, Azkaban, Hallows, Chamber, Sorcerer's Stone, Phoenix.

Best moment in the books

You're a wizard, Harry: "Honestly still to this day my favorite moment is when Hagrid tells Harry he is a wizard. I really associate that with my introduction into loving literature and loving the wizarding world." – HO.

It was Quirrell: "Toss-up with the Pensieve adventures and Dumbledore telling Harry 'I'm not afraid. I'm with you' in The Half-Blood Prince. But the twist at the end of Book 1 was the first time I sat up with a book and thought 'Wow, that was cool.'" – AU.

The death of Diggory: "I'm going with the end of the Triwizard Tournament, when Harry and Cedric Diggory touch the trophy portkey and get teleported to some nightmare graveyard with Death Eaters and Voldemort. Why? Because that’s when s—t gets real. Rowling at that moment commits to Harry Potter as a series that isn’t just for kids – it’s scary, and forces Harry to face some real-life fears." – SM.

The Half-Blood Prince: "I liked every time we learned how great Snape truly was, like when we found out he was the Half-Blood Prince (SPOILER ALERT....oops too late)." – MT.

Best depiction of book character in the movies

Emma Watson as Hermione: "At least in the first few movies. I think they nailed the hair. The movies did a good job with Hagrid, too." – MT.

Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew: "This is really difficult, because I’m not sure any of the main characters really matched what I’d had in my head. So I’m picking a supporting one – Peter Pettigrew. The movie version was just as weaselly and lame as the book described, and Spall captured it perfectly." – SM.

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood: "She’s already so quirky in the books so with the addition of actually getting a visual of what she looks, it like makes her so much better. She’s just such an odd soul and comes alive so much more in the movies." HO.

Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort: "Just for this laugh." – AU.

Voldemort's rise to power: "Tom Riddle, the Lestranges, young Dumbledore, Potter/Black/Lupin/Pettigrew, Snape the spy, the Longbottoms – so many cool characters and stories only partially-explained in the original seven." – AU.

Young Dumbledore: "I want to read more about Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s relationship, anything about young Dumbledore really. I’d also like more stories about the animals involved in the HP world, and the house elves." – MT.

None: "Leave it to stand as it is. Nobody will ever hate something because there wasn’t enough – but if people get force-fed too much, they’ll turn quick." – SM.

The History of Hogwarts: "That castle is filled with so many secrets and rooms that are never even addressed. Especially because we find out later that the Hufflepuff dormitory is in the kitchen, and we never really know what goes on in Ravenclaw. There is just so much we don't know about the most famous (fictional) school in the world." – HO.

There you go J.K., some food for thought (just ignore Shaymus' suggestion).

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