10 points to slytherin

Helena Bonham Carter Is the Most Spellbinding Part of the Harry Potter Reunion

Everyone wanted an interview with her. Photo: YouTube

HBO Max spared no expense with Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. Out New Year’s Day, the reunion special brings together cast members young and old and features genuinely interesting interviews with every director across the franchise’s eight films. It gives Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Tom Felton space to reflect with one another on the surreal experience of growing up on film from childhood to adolescence. It carves out space to remember the legacies of the British thespians who made the films stand out among other family fare and includes a touching “In Memoriam” segment. But the best aspect of the whole thing wasn’t the giant sets or behind-the-scenes footage. It was Helena Bonham Carter, talking.

Her character, the villainous witch Bellatrix Lestrange, doesn’t make an appearance until the fifth film, so Bonham Carter only shows up halfway through the special. Once she does, though, she makes the whole thing essential viewing. She puts the HBC in HBIC. Here are all of the Helena Bonham Carter moments in Return to Hogwarts that made us cackle with glee.

Frolicking in Gringotts Wizarding Bank

When Bonham Carter first appears, the producers have her reunite with Daniel Radcliffe on the Gringotts set. She runs around the place, gets freaked out by the animatronic goblins stored under the tellers’ desks, and challenges Radcliffe to a race down the stairs to the Lestrange vault, shouting, “We’re snogging down here!” We don’t know if she’s talking to the producers, to the animatronic goblins, or to no one at all.

Embarrassing Daniel Radcliffe

Bonham Carter pulls out her phone — it’s in the kind of case that has an overstuffed cardholder on it because stars, they’re just like us — and makes Radcliffe read from a photo of a letter he wrote her on set. “Dear HBC, it was a pleasure being your co-star and coaster,” he reads, “in the sense that I always ended up holding your coffee.” He giggles at the next part: “I do love you, and I just wish I’d been born ten years earlier. I might’ve been in with a chance. Lots of love, and thanks for being cool.” It makes Radcliffe blush; Bonham Carter says she keeps the letter “in my toilet.”

Stinky teeth

Bonham Carter pulls out a baggie holding her prosthetic teeth from eleven years ago. “She’s done nothing to these in terms of cleaning,” Radcliffe says. She sniffs them, notes that they smell bad, and proceeds to pop them in her mouth. That’s commitment.


“Did you get anything?” HBC asks Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), sitting down on the Slytherin Common Room set. “Because I stole quite a lot.” Felton, sadly, didn’t steal anything from production.

Blowing stuff up

HBC reflects on how happy she was filming the scene where Bellatrix blows up Hagrid’s cottage. She says it was the one moment when her wand cued a special effect in real time. “I was really surprised and scared by my own reaction,” she says, before the special cuts to footage of her cackling and screaming. It’s hard to tell if she’s in character, so purely joyful and manic is her reaction. We, as a culture, should let Helena Bonham Carter blow stuff up more often.

Helena Bonham Carter Works Magic in the Harry Potter Reunion