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Why The Harry Potter Reunion Special's Narrator Sounds So Familiar

HBO Max's "Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts" reunion special brings together many familiar faces from the franchise to discuss their time filming all of the "Harry Potter" movies. In doing so, fans of "Harry Potter" who have remained invested in both the books and movies for years can take a trip back in time and see archival footage, new interviews, and clips from the films in the ultimate trip down memory lane. The "Harry Potter" film franchise released eight movies from 2001 to 2011 and featured veteran performers such as Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, Kenneth Branagh, and Ralph Fiennes alongside the central trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.

While many faces and voices were instantly recognizable, there was one that may have had fans scratching their heads. The voice in question serves as the Narrator of the "Return to Hogwarts" special, and it may be familiar to diehard "Harry Potter" fans that voice heard in the "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" video games. That voice belongs to Stephen Fry.

Here's why he sounds so familiar.

Stephen Fry has lent his voice to some popular movies and TV shows

Now, if Stephen Fry's voice sounds familiar, it might be because this English actor has appeared in a ton of film and television roles over the last 40 years. According to the actor's IMDb profile, he has racked up over 180 roles, including voice parts in animated movies and long-running TV series. Fry's first major voice role arrived in 1999 (a little over a decade into his on-screen career) with "The Magician's House." The live-action series follows a trio of kids who are brought into a magical world after a chance encounter with a time-traveling wizard. Fry voiced one of the many animals in the series, an owl named Jasper.

Since "The Magician's House," Fry has popped in some very fun voice roles. From 2001 to 2002, he lent his voice to the character of The Minister of Chance in the BBC "Doctor Who" audio drama "Doctor Who: Death Comes to Time." Just a few years later, in 2005, he took on the narrating duties once more (seems he's always getting picked to narrate a variety of projects, huh?) in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Adapted from Douglas Adams' beloved sci-fi book series, "The Hitchhiker's Guide" stars Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, an average Englishman who beams off-world with his alien friend (Yasiin Bey) moments before Earth is destroyed and embarks on an intergalactic adventure. Not only does Fry tackle the role of Narrator, but he also voices The Guide.

Fry's 2010s have included a host of exciting voice roles on top of his already jam-packed live-action resumé. With his silky, wit-laden, upper-crust British accent, Fry seems like a perfect pick to voice The Cheshire Cat. He brought Lewis Carroll's wily creation to life twice on screen: first, in 2010's "Alice in Wonderland," and then in 2016's "Alice Through the Looking Glass." He also popped up on the long-running animated series "American Dad!" from 2014 to 2019 and a 2021 episode of "The Simpsons," the Season 32 episode "The Man From G.R.A.M.P.A.," where he voiced Terrance, Terrance's father, and the Head of MI5.

Fry broke out big time in the 1980s and 1990s

Stephen Fry made his acting debut in an uncredited role in the 1981 film "Chariots of Fire," which went on to win the Oscar for best picture. He rose to prominence as a cast member of the "Blackadder" TV series, where he worked with performers such as Rowan Atkinson and Miranda Richardson, as well as Hugh Laurie. Fry and Laurie would go on to collaborate several more times over the next few years, including the series "Jeeves and Wooster," which started in 1990 and ran for four seasons, and the sketch comedy show "A Bit of Fry and Laurie," a sketch comedy series that also ran for four seasons and ended in 1995. He also appears in numerous movie roles during this time, including the 1997 film "Spice World," where he plays a judge in a dream sequence involving Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice, as well as "Wilde," wherein he plays titular playwright Oscar Wilde. 

The 2001 film "Gosford Park" introduced Fry to a wide array of fans. Directed by Robert Altman, the film sees Fry playing Inspector Thompson, who's called in to investigate at the titular country estate of Gosford Park after the estate's owner, Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon), is found murdered. "Gosford Park" was written by Julian Fellowes, who would go on to create the period drama "Downton Abbey."

Fry's '00s were even busier than previous decades

Following his work in "Gosford Park," Fry stepped behind the camera for what is the only feature he has directed to date: the 2003 film "Bright Young Things." Fry also wrote the film's screenplay, adapted from the novel "Vile Bodies" by Evelyn Waugh, and plays a chauffeur. The film's cast includes Michael Sheen, James McAvoy, David Tennant, and Imelda Staunton. (As luck would have it, both Tennant and Staunton have also appeared in the Harry Potter films.)

Fry also worked with director James McTeigue ("Sense8") in 2005 in the dystopian film "V for Vendetta." The movie's script is written by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, who adapted from Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name. Fry plays Gordon Dietrich, a talk show host on the state channel British Television Network and the employer of Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman). When Evey is hunted by the government, she seeks sanctuary in Gordon's home. He hides her and reveals that he's not as sympathetic to the government as his show might suggest.

He also showed in the 2007 film "St. Trinian's," playing a fictional version of himself as the presenter for a TV quiz show. "St. Trinian's" is not the only time Stephen Fry plays a version of himself — he also did so for the BBC-HBO series "Extras." He stars in the fourth episode of the show's second season, titled "Chris Martin" (via IMDb). He also took on the lead role in the British series "Kingdom," in which he plays Peter Kingdom, a lawyer who helps a cast of colorful characters in Norfolk. The show ran for three seasons, coming to an end in 2009.

Fry tackles a variety of projects in the 2010s

In 2011, Fry teamed up with director Guy Ritchie for the sequel mystery film "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." The film, which saw Robert Downey Jr. And Jude Law reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively, introduces Fry in the role of Mycroft Holmes (brother of Sherlock), who helps with the investigation throughout the film. He also popped up in another blockbuster film in 2013: the Peter Jackson-directed feature "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" as Master of Laketown. He reprised the role in the 2014 sequel "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

Fry is featured in Season 9 of the Fox action series "24" as British Prime Minister Alastair Davies. He went on to play Gordon Wyatt, a therapist turned chef who is a recurring character on the Fox procedural "Bones." In 2020, he once again wore the hat of a fictional TV game show host on Season 2 of the hit Netflix "Sex Education." His involvement in the "Harry Potter Reunion Special" is only the beginning, as his IMDb page shows a number of projects in the pipeline, promising another prolific year for the performer.