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The Harry Potter Link In Love Actually That Only Hardcore Fans Notice

With such a stellar cast, the 2003 romantic comedy "Love Actually" has become a Christmas classic, beloved by many households each holiday season, despite its decidedly mixed reviews and plot lines that haven't aged well.

There are well-known actors at every turn in the movie's nine entwined stories about romance and love, making it a fun rewatch for the novelty of seeing them all together, but you're more likely to recognize several from high-action sci-fi or fantasy flicks as opposed to other romcoms: Martin Freeman starred in the "Hobbit" trilogy, Andrew Lincoln found fame as the southern sheriff on "The Walking Dead," and Keira Knightley became a pirate queen in "Pirates of the Caribbean." On top of that, there's one couple who reunited in the "Harry Potter" films with a relationship that couldn't be more opposite to their "Love Actually" characters.

Fans may remember one of the stories in "Love Actually": Harry is married to Karen, but is attracted to his young secretary, Mia. He buys Mia a necklace on a whim, but Karen discovers it and is dismayed to learn it's not a Christmas present for her. It's left unclear where their relationship goes from there, but the script editor clarified in 2015 that they do stay together (via Entertainment Weekly).

In another life, it's Snape and Trelawney

In some universe, there's a version of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" that's just "Love Actually" at the Yule Ball. But in reality, the link is found with the actors Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. They play the married couple, Harry and Karen, in "Love Actually," but are also mainstays in the "Harry Potter" films: Rickman is the sneering Professor Severus Snape, while Thompson is the trembling Professor Sybill Trelawney. In "Harry Potter," the two professors couldn't be more opposite; the dark potions master of dubious intent and mean spirit has little interest in the wide-eyed, eccentric divination witch who sees terrible futures in every teacup.

Rickman had already been in the first two "Harry Potter" movies before "Love Actually" came out, but he and Thompson did the latter film before she debuted as Trelawney in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Thompson was in three "Harry Potter" films, while Rickman starred in all eight. 

A year after Rickman died of cancer in 2016, the "Love Actually" cast reunited for a mini-sequel to participate in the fundraiser Red Nose Day, but Thompson did not attend. In a 2017 interview with Reuters, she explained why. "[Writer-director] Richard [Curtis] wrote to me and said 'Darling I can't write anything for you because of Alan' and I said, 'No, of course you can't, it would be sad, too sad, it's too soon," Thompson said.

"It's absolutely right," she continued. "[The "Love Actually" sequel is] supposed to be for Comic Relief and there isn't much comic relief in the loss of our dear friend really only just over a year ago. We thought and thought but it just seemed wrong."

Together, Rickman and Thompson were one of the strongest parts of "Love Actually," while in "Harry Potter" they stood out separately as two very different, but equally rich professors at Hogwarts.