Two decades of magic: 20 best moments from 'Harry Potter'

It's a book that spawned a wildly successful film franchise. It's a book that gave way to numerous sequels (and prequels). Merlin's beard, it's even inspired numerous theme parks! But for many kids and adults alike, it's a book that has forever changed their lives.

On June 26, 2017, that books turned 20 years old.

The first novel in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (or "Sorcerer's Stone" as it would later be called in the U.S.), was released on June 26, 1997, in London by now-acclaimed author J.K. Rowling.

To help reminisce on the 20 years of magic that has touched readers across the globe, we thought we'd reflect back on our top 20 favorite moments from the series. Here they are in book order:

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1. Harry meets Hagrid

"You're a wizard, Harry!" is perhaps the most quoted line from the series, so of course the moment Harry meets Hagrid for the first time has to make the list.

By magical motorbike, Hagrid finds his way to Harry on a tiny island away from civilization, gives him a birthday cake, magically sprouts a curly pigtail from his greedy cousin's rear, and tells Harry all about his magical heritage.

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2. Harry, Ron and Hermione meet for the first time on the Hogwarts Express

In all their 11-year-old glory, outcasts Ron, Hermione and Harry exchange remarks that immediately foreshadow their character development for the rest of the series and they head off to the school that will change their lives -- and the entire magical world -- for eternity.

Oh, the irony!

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3. The first-years arrive at Hogwarts

Just about every kid who's ever read the books -- or seen the movies -- has dreamed of trading in their textbooks and yellow school buses in exchange for a magical wand and a ticket on the Hogwarts Express.

That's why the first look we get of Hogwarts is a must-have on the list. From floating up to the school by canoe and walking into the Great Hall for the first time, the jealousy is real.

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4. Harry looks into the Mirror of Erised

While walking the halls of Hogwarts late at night, Harry stumbles across a magical mirror that shows the viewer what they desire most.

What Harry sees is himself smiling with both of his parents, who were both killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. Throughout the rest of the first book, Harry continues to sneak away just so he can be with his parents and later runs into his headmaster and mentor Albus Dumbledore for a valuable lesson on life, death and following your dreams.

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5. Ron and Harry hijack the flying Ford Anglia

Despite Dobby the house elf's attempts to protect Harry from the dangers of Hogwarts and thwarting his attempts to board the Hogwarts Express, the boys end up stealing the Weasley family's flying Ford Anglia, which neither of them knows how to drive.

An iconic scene in the movie, the boys fly over the countryside alongside the train and end up crashing into the Whomping Willow, gaining national headlines and detention in the process.

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6. Harry frees Dobby the house elf

An important scene that proves the Harry Potter series isn't just for kids, Harry uncovers a sneaky way to free Dobby the house elf by tricking Lucius Malfoy into giving him sock. In the magical world, house elves were believed property and could only be freed if their owners presented them with an article of clothing.

Even today, this symbolism is a concept both kids and adults can learn from. It was later revealed that, mainly thanks to Hermione's efforts, house elves were granted better rights.

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7. Harry inflates Aunt Marge

A relative of his guardians the Dursleys, the awful Aunt Marge comes to visit while he is at home with his aunt and uncle for the summer.

While young wizards and witches often lose control of their magical powers when angered, Marge insults Harry's deceased mother and Harry accidentally causes her to inflate like a balloon and she floats away. Justice is served, and it feels great.

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8. Buckbeak's flight

Hagrid, now a professor of magical creatures, introduces Harry to Buckbeak the hippogriff. After Harry illustrates a ritual of respect, he lets Harry hop on for a flight around the castle and over the lake. We see Harry in one of his happiest moments at Hogwarts.

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9. Hermione punches Draco

Um ... the GIF says it all.

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10. Harry rescues Sirius

After working all year to learn a difficult spell that requires the happiest of memories to execute, Harry is finally able to cast his "patronus" to rescue his wrongfully accused godfather from the dementors.

Rowling later revealed how the dementors symbolized her depression, and the patronus spell, which takes the form of a different animal for each witch or wizard, has easily become a fan favorite.

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11. The Triwizard Tournament

It's hard to pick a favorite moment from the Triwizard Tournament, so we just decided the whole event makes the list. 

And no, Harry did not put his name in the Goblet of Fire!

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12. The Weasley twins go out with bang

Easily one of the most hated characters in all of Hogwarts history, Professor Umbridge pretty much terrorized Hogwarts with her excessive and oppressive rules. 

Pranksters Fred and George set off an animated fireworks show that targeted the awful lady and they dropped out of Hogwarts with a fiery bang.

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13. Dumbledore vs. Voldemort

It was always said that the only wizard Voldemort feared was Dumbledore, so this fight was a long time in the making. If only it could have ended here!

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14. Harry gets "happy" on Felix Felicis

In order to get some valuable information from Professor Slughorn, Harry takes a potion that makes the user extraordinarily lucky. As a side effect of the potion, Harry experiences extra giddiness -- not something we see a lot of with Potter!

"Not to mention the pincers!"

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15. Ron and Hermione's first kiss

Because it had to happen eventually!

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16. Snape's memories of Lily

One of the most controversial characters throughout the series is Professor Snape. 

When Harry learns through a magical experience of Snape's memories that his professor was in love with his mother and had promised to protect him all along, he learns that Snape made the ultimate sacrifice -- and we're still crying.

"Always."

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17. Molly kills Bellatrix

Becomes family comes first and sometimes people really do deserve to be called curse words.

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18. Neville kills Nagini

Criticized throughout the series as somewhat of a coward, we finally see Mr. Longbottom take a stand and fight to avenge his family and friends.

And Nagini the snake was an important key in taking down Lord Voldemort.

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19. Dumbledore and Harry meet at King's Cross

Even though he was murdered, every Harry Potter fan wanted some final words from the beloved Dumbledore.

We finally got it after Harry sacrifices himself and they "meet" again at King's Cross, and we get some of Dumbledore's best quotes.

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20. Epilogue 

Fast forward several years and Harry and the gang are sending their kids off to Hogwarts. We learn their magical careers and who they named their children after. It's beautiful.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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