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J.K. Rowling Reveals Why She Turned Down Harry Potter Reunion Special: 'I Was Asked to Be On It, and...'

Author J.K. Rowling has shed light on the absence of any fresh interview with her in HBO Max’s much-ballyhooed Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts reunion special.

Released back in January, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts featured the film franchise’s central trio — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — as well as Chris Columbus, who directed two of the film series’ eight installments, and Hogwarts and Hogwarts-adjacent cast members such as Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, Oliver Phelps, James Phelps, Mark Williams, Alfred Enoch, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch and Ian Hart.

Rowling did appear in the special, but only briefly and by way of archival video clips circa 2019, of her ruminating on the fantasy series’ legacy. At the time, it was reported that she had been invited to participate in the special but declined.

As a recent guest on The Graham Norton Radio Show, Rowling rebuffed the suggestion that she was in any way “excluded” from the special — after all, the Harry Potter creator has made headlines in recent years for controversial comments about transgender people — and then explained her decision to decline an invitation for a fresh interview.

“I wasn’t [excluded], actually,” she told Graham Norton at the eight-minute mark in the audio embedded above. “I was asked to be on it, and I decided I didn’t want to do it.”

As for the why, “I thought [the HBO Max special] was about the films more than the books — quite rightly,” Rowling explained. “That’s what the [20th] anniversary was about. So yeah, no one said, ‘Dont’ [do it]. I was asked to do it, and I decided not to.”