My fourth day in London, Thursday 21st November, was my Harry Potter day, that is, it was the day I made the journey to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter and saw Hogwarts!
To my surprise, the whole entrance in the studio and everything is extremely well organized. I hardly waited in any lines. I got there, went to retrieve my entrance ticket, and proceeded to the hall with access to the shop and bar, to wait my time of entrance. I got into the shop and immediatly realized that I was in big trouble, because I wanted to buy everything… =/ Also had time to try another amazing latte from Starbucks: Gingerbread Latte (this and eggnog are the flavours we don’t get around here). The entrance was decorated with an amazing Christmas tree, covered in snow and photos of all the characters around the walls. There was also a Ford Anglia hanging from the ceiling and a giant Time-Turner.
Getting in, we are first led to a room where we hear the story of how the first book was brought to screen and then we go to a theatre where the three main characters explain to us that this studio was their home for 10 years, how they were a family and the most important people in this “world” are the ones we never get to see. Finally, the screen comes up to reveal the doors to the Great Hall!
Smaller than it appears on the movies, but still huge for a movie set, the Great Hall is amazing, with all it’s details, stone floor, fireplaces and Christmas decorations. At the end of the Great Hall, we can see the clothes worn by the main Professors. Snape is the only professor who never changes his wardrobe throughout the 8 movies (except for the side of his cape, for the dramatic effect of HP & the Deathly Hallows pt 2), given that Alan Rickman felt that his character would maintain his clothes unchanged.
After leaving the Great Hall, we go to the sound studios, where the rest of the sets and props are. Amazing to see how they accomplished to film such a variety of scenes on back to back sets of completely different places. All sets were decorated for Christmas.
Just a small guide to the picture below (from left to right, top to bottom): Ron’s bed in the boy’s dormitory, Leaky Cauldron’s inn corridor, The Burrow, several articles os WW and other printed stuff from the art department, several props such as the golden snitch or the deluminator, notices from Umbridge’s reign over Hogwarts, Magic is Might statue from the Ministry of Magic, access to Dumbledore’s office.
When I say the Magic is Might monument, I almost teared up… so sad! But the display of the wands has to be my favourite piece in there (if you see the full size picture, you can read all the names)! Also, when I “grow up” I want to own all the wands and display them like this…
After we see a lot of sets, clothes, wigs, props, brooms and how they work, the Ministry fireplaces and all that, we are then taken outside to see the exterior sets. There we see nº4 Privet Drive, the Potter’s destroyed house, Hogwarts bridge, the 3 decker Knight bus, the chest pieces from HP1, Tom Riddle’s grave and statue featured in HP4 and we have Butterbeer. I had read a lot of things about butterbeer, mainly that it wasn’t good, but I loved it. True that it’s a bit sweet, but it’s unlike anything I ever tasted before… although, several hours later and three meals after, I still had that sweet taste in my mouth.
Then, we enter the exposition of the mechanics and prosthetics and so on, where we see a lot of creatures used in the movies as well as the prosthetics of all the goblins, etc. I had no idea that they used a mechanical head for some shots of Hagrid (given his size), or that Lupin’s werewolf was not totally CGI, or that all the creatures such as the dragons, basilisk, etc, were at least partially built and they moved! Mandrakes, Mer people, giant’s heads, Buckbeak, Dobby, Goblins and dying Voldemort, amongst other things.
Then we take a few steps and we’re on Diagon Alley (full of Muggles)!
Ollivander’s, Flourish and Blotts, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, Eeylops Owl Emporium and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shops are some amongst many others that we can see.
From then, we enter the world of architecture, art and models. It’s amazing the amount of planning and time that went to the planning and building of the amazing and fantastic world of Harry Potter.
And then we finally get to Hogwarts! And I was loving the studio tour so far, bur this, well… this is something else! It’s Hogwarts!
Words cannot really express how amazing this is, it’s totally magical!
Just before we reach the shop, we go through the “inside of Ollivander’s shop”, with some Easter Eggs. You’re supposed to find the names of the actors and so on, on the boxes of wands! I found: Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, JK Rowling, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Evanna Lynch, Matt Lewis, Natalia Tena, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Mark Williams and Ralph Fiennes.
Off we go to the gift shop! So, remember my problem of not knowing which wand to choose? I ended up buying four wands… yes, four!!! But just one for me =(. My eldest niece asked me for the Harry Potter wand and my youngest niece just wanted a wand… so, if I was bringing wands for both of them, I had to get one for my nephew…
Hermione’s is mine, is just so gorgeous! Harry Potter’s for my niece, Bellatrix’s for my other niece (she sometimes reminds me of Bella… and the wand is just beautiful). For my nephew I picked up Voldemort’s because I honestly fell in love with the wand and I’m secretly hoping that he won’t want it…
I also bought a box of bertie botts every flavor beans and a chocolate frog, for Christmas =)
I got back to London relatively early, so I went for the complete HP package and went to Kings Cross, but platform 9 3/4 was packed with people and I could get a decent shot without anyone in it.
That was it! My Harry Potter day =D!!!! AMAZING!!!!! So happy I went to the studios, I honestly think I will be back there each time I go to London… also, I now have a goal of owning every wand that is on sale… they’re precious!