The Making of Harry Potter
As I am a huge Potterhead, (that’s how Harry Potter fans like to call themselves) I went crazy when I learnt about a place called “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter” which is a behind-the-scenes walking tour about Harry Potter. It’s a sort of museum but actually it’s much more entertaining than just a simple museum. Located in Leavesden (near London), where they filmed the movies, it features authentic sets and costumes they used for the Harry Potter series.
For those who have never read or seen Harry Potter…please read the books and/or watch the movies. But here is the plot: The novels revolve around Harry Potter, a 11-year-old orphan who discovers he is a wizard. He lives with his uncle, aunt and cousin who do not treat him well. They aren’t wizards, they are muggles; but Harry’s parents, Lily and James, were two powerful wizards. They were both killed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, also known as the Dark Lord or Lord Voldemort. His mission is to destroy Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters, so the magic world can remain peaceful. The story also revolves around Ron and Hermione, his best friends who will help him to achieve his mission.
When you enter this huge place (studios J and K, as in J.K. Rowling), and after queuing for a few minutes, you enter a dark room with lots of screens everywhere. A man is standing there and they show you clips of the Harry Potter mania; quite impressive. The man asks you where you come from and that’s how I discovered that some people actually came all the way from Florida or China to visit this wonderful and magic place.
Then it is time for the real tour to start. If you’ve ever seen the Harry Potter series you know how important The Great Hall is. When the wizards attend Hogwarts (British wizarding boarding school teaching the magical arts) that’s the place where they eat for the first time and get to know each other. There’s an enchanted ceiling and tons of food everywhere. There are 4 huge tables for each house (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff). The doors open to reveal only 2 of the long tables; well the visitors need a space to walk. Some of Harry, Ron, Neville and even Cedric Diggory’s clothes are displayed. It felt so amazing to see the real clothes they wore to shoot the movies. You really feel carried away in the magic world. Then, on a platform, stand the teachers and the head-master Dumbledore (my favorite character, such a wise man). The real actors are not standing there of course but it seem like they are; their clothes are placed on dummies. The atmosphere is incredible and it’s amazing to be able to see the real sets.
Then you enter an enormous room filled with almost every set such as the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office, Snape’s classroom, the entry of the chamber of secrets, the minister of Magic and so much more. You also see many objects used in the movies, for instance the deathly allows (which all contain a part of Voldemort’s soul), the philosopher stone and even the newspaper or the wizard’s favorite beans. The details of the objects, the clothes and the wigs are impressive.
The funniest thing that you can do at this studio tour is fly on a broomstick, after 5 minutes of queuing you get to choose a wizard outfit and go on a broomstick. There’s a green screen but on the DVD/picture that you can buy you will see that they added really nice settings.
The studio tour also contains an outdoor part where you can see the Potter’s cottage which is in ruins as Voldemort destroyed it when he killed Harry’s parents, Lilly and James Potter. We can also look at his aunt and uncle’s house where he was raised. The place where it is located is called Private Drive and if you’re a huge fan you know how much this place matters; this is the only house where Harry can be safe as it is protected by a few spells. You can also buy butterbeer, the wizards’ favorite drink; I tried it but it wasn’t that good but some people find it delicious. Then you go inside and get to see all the creatures and even the wax figures of the characters that died for example. Seeing Dumbledore or Dobby’s wax figures made me really emotionnal as they are my favorite characters ever and both died in quite a cruel way.
After the visit you enter a massive souvenir shop where you spend a little fortune. I bought some sweets that you see in the movies such as a chocolate frog, Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans and a Gryffindor beanie which I might wear everyday this winter.
This studio tour is definitely one of my favorite place ever and I hope to be able to go back there again as soon as possible to enjoy even more the visit and see more and more details.