The encompassing orchestral melody of Harry's Wondrous World belted out across Potterhead screens and beyond on the first day of the year celebrating 20 years of the Harry Potter film franchise.
Fans were a witness to the carnival that brought out the best of the wizarding world in a wondrous, heartfelt and strongly emotive homage to the cast, crew and the story alike.
For many of us, we were made to relive our entire childhood and adolescence in a span of an hour and 46 minutes.
However, following a rather dismal response to the Cursed Child theatricals, a halfhearted reception of the Fantastic Beasts films and the JK Rowling controversy, a reunion truly befitting the legacy of Harry Potter was also frowned upon.
The film, dubbed 'Return to Hogwarts' brushed off any such looming speculations, delving into a roller coaster of intrigues, trivia and teary-eyed reminiscences.
The anniversary special began with a wholesome depiction of the cast assembling in response to Hogwarts-enveloped invites at the very set of the films, against the backdrop of the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle and Diagon Alley.
The actors, following a heartfelt exchange of pleasantries, engaged sequentially in a set of conversations across a multitude of groups and settings. This allowed us to hop onto a fascinating ride along the different phases (allotted specific chapters like the books) of the eight film extravaganza.
It also brilliantly captured the metamorphosis of not only the plot but the characters and their corresponding actors and actresses in its true essence over the 10 year period. This had resonated with Potter enthusiasts who had grown up with the films shaping up their crucial formative years.
The stars of the show had to be the three central characters- Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson uniting ceremoniously at the Gryffindor Common Room.
The years have started to show on their faces (mostly Rupert's, now a father of one) but not on the chemistry between the three that had fostered between them over the years.
Other notable rendezvous include that of Helena Carter (playing the evil Bellatrix) and Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) with Daniel.
Thomas Felton (Malfoy), Toby Jones (Dobby), Robbie Coltran (Hagrid) and Ralph Fiennes (cast as Lord Voldemort) were amongst a host of other star studded appearances.
The sheer structuring and progression of the special, focusing on the transition of the characters from childhood to adolescence and late teens, helped put into perspective the distinct flavours that the films had acquired. This was in part because the films had been blessed by different directors at various stages.
Chris Columbus excelled in cementing the roots of the first two films with a colorful and chirpy central theme that received widespread acceptance. Alfonso Cuaron and David Yates were responsible for adding the sinisterly dark elements to the later films .
The real life bonding which Gary Oldman shared with Daniel, in congruence with the films, was an absolute treat to watch.
Another riveting twist was when Emma Watson revealed how she was almost close to leaving the franchise prior to the fifth film.
The special sheds light on the internal mental tussle that the central characters underwent in trying to discover their individualities as developing teens.
Not so pleasant to Rupert and Emma was the romance they had to portray on screen, especially for two individuals who had grown up together.
The special goes on to reflect on how the books and in due time the films had set up a revolution- almost a new world order.
The buzz the cast selection process had created in the UK was extraordinary.
A footage of the very first auditions of the three seemingly tiny tots from 2001 was a delight to behold.
The most heart wrenching part of the entire arrangement was saved for the very last when tributes flowed in for those who had left us, including Alan Rickman (Snape), Richard Harris (Dumbledore), John Hurt (Ollivander) and Richard Griffiths (Mr Dursley) amongst others.
In all, it was a recapitulation at its best.
Studded with surprises, nostalgia and pure goodness, it made you feel wholesome and realise why you fell in love with the wizarding world in the first place.
It took you back to a time when you breathed and lived in an era awaited by the books yet to be published and the movies yet to be pictured.
This was a time when Harry Potter was not just some random fandom but something we all lived and evolved with.
Harry Potter is so much more than mere fantasy. It has been a mentor, an escape and a source of solace - and boy did the special celebrate that!