Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence, but had to catch up with work and finally did! My zeal was rewarded by children’s best-selling author Suzy Jane Tanner, who treated me to a trip to…. The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios!!! Those famous ones In London!!! Yaaaay!!!
So, here I am, ready to share with you this amazing experience:
First, after a rather long journey on the London overground, we were picked up by a special Harry Potter bus (not, not a Knight Bus, still, covered with really cool HP pictures). For the ride, I decided to wear my HP glasses (note: those are my REAL glasses, simply don’t use them much, since I usually prefer contacts):
After around ten minutes, we arrived at the place, which looked huge already from the outside. We collected our tickets (mine had Dobby on it!), then we entered what looked like a small cinema, when we watched a short documentary, showing a number of interviews of the producers and directors, telling us how they were involved in the production of the movies. Then, THE REAL FUN BEGAN!
First we entered a long queue to admire… The very cupboard under the stairs! This is the actual set used to film Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone!
In the following photo, below, on the left, you can see Harry’s round glasses, the original ones used in the movie. The placard said that Daniel Radcliff asked for a copy of them, as a souvenir of his ten years passed filming Potter’s films:
Next stop was the Great Hall, one of the biggest sets ever build in the UK. The guide told us that it often actually hosted over 400 people between ‘Hogwarts’ students’ and ‘teachers’. The floor was made of heavy stone, so that it could bear all that weight!
This is me, right in front of the teachers’ table. Behind me, you can spot a couple of mannequins, one wearing Dumbledore’s clothes, the other Snape’s.
This is me again, this time in front of Hagrid’s mannequin.
Here are various other Great Hall’s features.
We moved to an even bigger room where …. All sort of exciting things! Really, I would have loved to have another pair of eyes, possibly on the back of my head.
Here, you can see the fake ice sculpture made for the Xmas party scene in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’. It was at least 5 feet high and looked absolutely real. Really impressive job.
Moving on, I found myself right in front of…. The Mirror Of Erised!!! It was a very profound experience. I won’t tell you what I saw in the mirror, though… 😉
What truly stroke me was the talent of the artists involved in the production. Sculptors, painters, illustrators. Their imagination truly nailed JK Rowling’s world, bringing it to life. Just to make a couple of examples: did you know that ALL the portraits you see in Hogwarts are REAL oil paintings, hand painted by a bunch of AMAZING artists ? I know, unbelievable, right? I mean, nothing was computer-generated here, there was just a team of talented people, able to paint a number of subjects (mostly other people involved in the production: like the head designer) in an old fashioned way.
We usually tend to focus on the actors in a popular movie, but I think we shouldn’t forget how important people behind the scenes are. The artists involved in the production were those in charge of creating the movie atmosphere, let’s remember that! Below, the Fat Lady and the Anti- Muggle statue, found in the Ministry of Magic:
I took a photo of Suzy in front of the giant gate to the Chamber of Secrets. In the future, she told me she’s rather not to be photographed in front of anything Voldermort-related!
And here there’s me, standing in front of the griffin protecting the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. I said ‘lemon drop’ several times, but unfortunately nothing happened!:(
Then, we went inside Dumbledore’s office, which is truly stunning. The memory cabinet contains 800 individual labelled glass containers. The attention to detail in everything is just incredible.
Outside, in the backlot you see the real 4 Privet Drive (and it’s next door neighbour) and the fabulous purple Knight Bus.
Then it’s round the corner into the iconic Diagon Alley- this was I had been waiting all day for. It’s remarkably small, but so detailed and with so much to look at – from Ollivanders wand shop to Gringotts and the Weasleys’ joke shop. It’s jus amazing! It looks so real! I was expecting to see Harry or Hermione coming from Ollivander’s shop any minute.
Then, the biggest surprise of all: the actual Hogwarts castle. Yep. A GIANT model, super-detailed! I mean, with lights and torches and the familiar, magical landscape surrounding it! SIMPLY AMAZING! Hats off! Chapeau!
Finally, it wouldn’t have been a real visit without enjoying a broom ride, right? This was beyond fun, an experience not to miss!! If you come to London, really you should visit this place, tickets are a little expensive, but totally worth the show!