I believe that I (and many of you) are the at the perfect age for deeply loving Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was eleven and wistfully waited for my own letter to arrive, it never did but despite that I spent the next 8 years excitedly waiting for the books and growing up with Harry. From the age of 11 to 23 a book or movie was released every year and no matter what I was doing in the real world I was sucked into the magical world of Hogwarts for a blissful adventure. I cried at the end of the last movie, not because the movie was sad, but because a chapter of my life was closed. Never again would Harry Potter come to interrupt my reality. It turns out I was completely wrong, the wizarding world is going no where. This blog is the story of our visit to Harry Potter studios, and my brief visit to the land of true magic!
After our tickets were scanned we walked through a hallway with the Movie posters from all around the world into a small theater. We watched a short video on the franchise, I don’t really remember the video so it must not have been anything special. After the movie the wall behind us opened up and were were being dwarfed by the entrance to the great hall. We walked into the great hall and began our journey into Hogwarts. The great hall was perfect. Exactly what I imagined. The long tables, the fireplaces with enough room to easily use the flu network, the owl lectern, all of it was perfect and the detailing incredible.
We paid extra to have audio guides, most of which was narrated by the actor who played Draco. Nate and I did not skip any numbers and took our sweet time going through the Studios. What amazed me the most was the amount of detail and care put into everything. Many props were detailed, intricate and beautiful but did not get any screen time. One of the first area’s crowning items was the ice sculpture used in one scene for decoration during the triwizard tournament ball.
Draco’s commentary gave us a lot of random trivia facts, like during the first movie Draco’s head started reacting badly to the super blond dye and he had to start wearing wigs. Another fact: they made the Gryffindor dorm room for the first movie (12 year old boys) and then never updated it, so in later movies the boys had to lay all curled up or with their legs hanging out of tiny beds.
We looked at the sets for the Gryffindor common room, the dorm room, Hagrid’s hut, dumbledore’s office, Lupin’s classroom, Snape’s classroom, the ministry of magic and on and on. The detail was amazing it felt like you had been transported straight to Hogwarts. In Snape’s classroom we had fun looking at what was inside all the bottles on the shelves, in Dumbledore’s office we stared pensively into the pensieve hoping for a reaction. Apparently, we didn’t even get to see the “best set they ever built” , the room of requirements because they burned the set during filming. I can’t go into all the details, there are just too many, but I attached 50 photos if you love HP and want to see.
Beyond the sets there were wonderful props, like all the wands, and the triwizard cup. In the middle of the room they just had piles of things that were not worth displaying on their own. I loved being in the ministry of magic sets, the sets were so big, I felt so small and persecuted by a government that doesn’t even really exist. The table of death eaters was interesting, their costumes were so intricate it almost brought them to life. Evidently the actor who played Voldemort loved how his costume flowed and would march around behind the scenes in it and played a game where he would try to hold his arms so still that it would not move.
Eeks this post is so long, and guess what? We are just about half way through the tour. Stay tuned for next week!