JK Rowling’s absence in ‘Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts’ has been criticised

The reunion special goes out on New Year's Day

JK Rowling’s absence from the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts reunion special has been criticised.

READ MORE: Harry Potter & The Cursed Movie: how Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald became JK Rowling’s most controversial film

Return To Hogwarts will see Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) reunite with other cast members to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.

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But many critics noted the absence of Rowling, who only appears in archive video clips.

There has been speculation that the writer was shut out of the programme after her previous comments about the trans community resulted in a backlash.

Writing for The Telegraph, Ed Power wrote: “What’s ultimately missing is any genuine insight into Harry and what it was about him that transfixed so many readers. And, to be honest, only JK Rowling could have offered that kind of insight.”

He added: “Even a muggle will have concluded that the lack of time given to Rowling in this documentary has something to do with the public rebuke by the series’ stars [Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint] in response to her views on trans people.”

The Times Carol Midgley described it as “a charming if at times saccharine reunion” which was “missing a key ingredient” in Rowling.

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“The fact that Rowling isn’t sitting there in the Gryffindor common room or walking down Diagon Alley, with the actors who were children at the time acknowledging what their careers owe to her, seems like a strange and key omission,” she added.

Variety‘s, Caroline Framke meanwhile suggested that Rowling’s absence was a good thing.

Return To Hogwarts is smart to emphasise how these adaptations came together and impacted the world as blockbuster movies more than how Rowling’s vision inspired it,” she wrote.

The controversy surrounding Rowling first began in 2020, when the author was criticised for a series of “anti-trans” tweets after she called out an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.

She then released an essay to defend comments that led to her being accused of transphobia, and to explain why she felt the need to voice her opinions.

Several prolific Potter stars spoke out against the author, including Grint, Radcliffe and Watson.

Despite the reunion’s criticism, Watson said filming it was “an unexpected joy”.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts premieres January 1, 2022 on HBO Max in the US and Sky/NOW TV in the UK.

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