No, sorry, that's not quite right. The discussion is never how. How was pretty universally agreed on from the beginning: HBO miniseries spanning seven seasons. The question is always who.
Some choices are obvious, immediate, and non-negotiable (despite Maggie's best attempts): Patrick Stewart as Mad-Eye Moody, Michael Caine as Dumbledore, and Samuel L. Jackson as Kingsley (Maggie only argues on the first two. No one I've ever met argues with the last). But with many, many others, we go round and round and round.
Here's the list as it stands today. Tomorrow, most of it could change. And don't hold back, girls. I am more than open to suggestions (except that Patrick Stewart is Moody, Michael Caine is Dumbledore, and Samuel L Jackson is Kingsley).
(Note: I'm bad at movie-ing, and at TV-ing, so you may notice that a lot of these names come from a handful of mainstream shows that I happen to have time sometimes to watch. There's a lot of Game of Thrones and BBC on here. Also, we don't limit ourselves to British actors, because where's the fun in that?)
Firstly, the kids. I'm not casting the kids (okay, Maisie Williams as Hermione and Sophie Nelisse as Luna, I'm casting two of the kids). Here's why: As bad as I am at actors, I'm even worse at child actors. The actors who are child actors in my head (we're talking Freddie Highmore, Asa Butterfield, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster) turn out to be, like, 23 when I look them up on IMDB (which sucks a lot, because hello, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom, done and done. ... Time traveling Harry Potter cast? No, no, no, this is hard enough as it is. Especially since that would just mean Tom Felton and Matt Lewis would keep their roles). Even Maisie Williams and Sophie Nelisse are old for the parts. I'm bad at child actors. They don't stay children long enough! So I will leave the children to be cast from the pool of the up and coming.
The other problem I run into with this is that so many of the adult roles are just so perfectly cast that I can't see anyone else in them ever at all. But for the purposes of this post, I'm pretending I have a gun to my head and have to make new choices. For instance:
McGonagall? Is Maggie Smith. Always and forever, she's not allowed to die, she always always always has to be around to be my McGonagall. But gun to my head? Maggie Smith. Okay, gun to my head and you might actually shoot me? Yeah, Maggie Smith, but Michelle Fairley as a far distant and vastly inferior second choice. You might recognize her as the actress whose talents were totally wasted in 7.1 as Hermione's mother.
Hagrid? Robbie Coltrane, man. But I will also accept James Nesbitt (looking more like Bofur than like himself) or Jonathan Rhys-Davies.
Flitwick (and every other diminuative character)? Warwick Davis (how else will we play the "Hey look, it's Warwick Davis!" game?) But Peter Dinklage will do if absolutely necessary.
Bellatrix? Helena Bonham Carter. Lucius? Jason Isaacs. Umbridge?
As far as the Marauders go, these days, we really like Robert Downey Jr for Sirius and David Tennant as Lupin. I'm in love with the idea of DT playing Lupin, but I will accept arguments for Jude Law, especially played against RDJ. James Potter goes to Daniel Radcliffe (given that he's stated it's the only way he'll come back to do more HP), and Peter? Martin Freeman, because I like the visual of Peter as a small man, playing into the grossly mis-named Napoleon Complex.
Snape? Richard Armitage, but think Guy of Gisbone more than Thorin or John Thornton (North and South? Anyone? Anyone?) Although Tom Hiddlestone made a good showing in the running for a while, as did Ben Cumberbatch. But Ben's got the voice; I'm not sold on the aesthetic. Young Snape goes to Isaac Hempstead Wright.
Lily is, as of yet, uncast, though we are thinking Emily Watson for Petunia (note: that's Emily, not Emma).
Quirrell and Lockhart go to Ben Schnetzer and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, respectively, while Goblet of Fire cameos Barty Crouch Sr and Ludo Bagman go to Mark Gatiss and Nathan Fillion.
And Voldie himself? Well, that's where we've landed with Benedict Cumberbatch for the time being. I'm sold on this aesthetic. Have you seen him as Frankenstein's monster?
Other bit parts we've put actors to include Jason Segall and Alyson Hannigan as Arthur and Molly (yeah, you'll give me a look at first, but think about it. I mean, really think about it for a second. Let it get under your skin. You'll fall in love with it, I promise), Esme Bianco as Rosmerta, Sean Bean as Scrimgeour (he has to play someone who gets killed, and I'm sorry, it can't be Moody. He'd kill as Moody, yes he would. But Patrick Stewart. Non-negotiable), Rose Leslie as Tonks (though Chase is pushing hard for Billie Piper, which I can also see, though he just wants the Doctor Who throwback, but I can't complain, as I do have not one but two Sherlock/Watson teamups potentially happening), and Evanna Lynch as Trelawny.
And this massive list doesn't even begin to include the people I just want to see somewhere in some role that I've yet to land upon: Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Ehle, Felicity Jones, Emilia Clarke, Miranda Otto, Jonny Lee Miller, Hugh Dancy, Karl Urban, Fran Kranz, it just goes on and on. So, please, ladies. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
But Patrick Stewart is Moody, Michael Caine is Dumbledore, and Samuel L Jackson is Kingsley. Just so we're clear.