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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Where did Harry go?

My family, like so many others, has not had cable television in years. In the age of streaming, the services of Xfinity and Fios no longer hit the mark for those looking to cut back to the least expensive and most convenient options. Platforms like Hulu provide access to live television, while Disney+ is stocked with all of your favorite Disney classics. I would say this has made the viewing experience infinitely better for shows and movies alike, but there is one major downside to this model: the division of content across separate streaming services. The “Harry Potter” series, in particular, is now far too inaccessible, which I believe to be a great loss to people of all ages. While the films were once a mainstay of ABC Family’s winter marathon schedule, we are now robbed of long weekends doing nothing but soaking in the glorious magic of the beloved franchise. 

That’s right. The “Harry Potter” movies are much too difficult to come by these days, which I believe is one of the great cultural losses we have suffered over the past several years. Recently, I spent more time than I would like to admit trying to track down a “Harry Potter” movie to watch. Keep in mind, I was determined to keep costs low for this endeavor, and by that, I mean I refused to buy or rent the movies for an additional fee. After quickly googling “Where to watch ‘Harry Potter’?”, I stumbled upon a fairly recent article informing readers that the movies are all on Peacock and HBO Max. 

Now, as a Notre Dame student, I already have mixed feelings about Peacock. Why, again, are we making it more difficult for people to watch the Fighting Irish Football? You can imagine how let down I felt when I finally logged in and saw that the movies had since been removed from the platform and labeled “Returning to Peacock October 15.” This simply would not do. I needed access to a “Harry Potter” movie that very moment. My only other option was HBO Max. I don’t know why, but that is one of the few platforms to which I have not subscribed. At this point, I am so tired of switching between accounts to track down a good movie night selection that I refuse to invest in yet another subscription. Out of pure stubbornness, I arrived at the realization that a cozy fall evening watching “Harry Potters” was not in the cards for me. 

One might say that these are easily solved problems. I could wait until October 15 for the movies to be streamed on Peacock or I could have asked around to log into someone else’s account to watch through HBO Max. However, neither of these felt right to me. The only thing that feels right is scrolling through the TV guide and seeing that the next 24 hours will be nothing but back-to-back “Harry Potter” movies at no additional cost on ABC Family. The rise of streaming services over cable TV has many benefits, but the loss of seasonal “Harry Potter” marathons is too much to bear. For a series that is such an integral element of pop culture for multiple generations, it is an injustice to have confined the movies (for the time being) to a single streaming subscription.

Given that I have already seen every movie in the series multiple times, I cannot help but feel for those who will never get to indulge in hours upon hours of magical cinema, and I can only hope that the powers that be at these streaming services come to see that it is their duty to make these movies fully accessible to all. As for me, I will probably give in and watch “The Prisoner of Azkaban” using a friend’s HBO subscription this weekend. I mean, come on, the leaves are changing: it’s “Harry Potter” season.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.