Both Charlie and I love Harry Potter series and to mark our 3 year anniversary, I booked 2 tickets to see The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studios.
Getting to the studio
The Warner Bros Studio is located 20 miles Northwest of London. From Euston station take the fast train to Watford Junction. Then, if you time it well, a shuttle bus will take you to the studio.
If you miss the shuttle bus, like we did, you can take a taxi. To save money, look around if there are any other people trying to catch a taxi and ask if they would like to share one. We got lucky and shared a taxi with a family of 3.
Outside the studio
On your arrival, don’t rush inside (unless you are desperately late), say hello to the life-size Wizard’s Chess. Do you remember who was who in the movie? Ron was a Knight, Harry was the Bishop and Hermione was a Queen side castle, I think?
The Making of Harry Potter
At the entrance into the studios you are greeted with J.K. Rowling words on the wall: ‘No story lives unless someone wants to listen,’ and then you see the iconic cupboard under the stairs.
Welcome to the Hogwarts
After a brief introduction and a short film, the screen was raised and we were welcomed into the world of fantasy where everything is possible. The grand entrance took us into the Great hall of Hogwarts. What a treat! The costumes displayed in the room are real, actually worn by the actors during the making of the series.
There were rumours to one day allow couples to get married within the Great Hall. I bet it would be a popular venue.
The Winter Ball scene
As you move through the studio, you can’t help but notice this marvelous ice sculpture from the Yule Ball scene in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.’
The Chocolate Feast
Back to School scene filled with chocolate treats. Doesn’t it look like the real thing! Just look at those profiteroles… sigh…
The cast corner
Once I peeled myself from the chocolatey display, I came across the cast corner; a makeup table and Harry’s jacket rail.
The Proclamations Wall, Leaky Cauldron & The Mirror of Erised
In the ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,’ the ridiculous ‘Educational Decrees’ were made up by the Ministry of Magic and as many as 136 of them were placed on the wall outside the Great Hall.
Next to the proclamations wall I caught a reflexion of myself in The Mirror of Erised. The mirror shows the deepest Desires just like the name of the mirror suggests. “Erised” spelled backwards is “desire.” All to do with the reflexion in the mirror… So clever.
As you move along the studio, you come across another very clever element, the Leaky Cauldron hallway from the wizards pub and inn. It was designed using a visual technique called forced perspective, which makes it appear to be much longer on the screen than it is in real. A very clever optical illusion.
The Gryffindor Common Room
The Magnificent Clock Tower
Snape’s Dungeons and his Magic Potions
The green potion in the pot was bubbling and the ladle was moving from side to side. Magic.
Bouncing spider juice… yaiks…
The Chamber of Secrets
The Chamber of Secrets Door is such a beautiful piece of work, hand-built by the Special Effects Department.
I loved the House of Magic so much, everything was moving in Ron’s mother’s kitchen; the iron, the pots, the knitting needles…
4 Privet Drive
We popped outside to get some fresh only to appear at 4 Privet Drive!
The Knight Bus
While having a go at Butterbeer, we nosed around the 22 foot tall Knight Bus. The purple magic bus was created from pieces of three vintage London double-deckers.
More Magic in the Diagon Alley
Isn’t this amazing? The details of the set are just so incredible. It nearly made me believe that the Diagon Alley exists and I could actually buy a wand, an owl or even a magic broom.
The Quidditch Essentials shop with the legendary Nimbus 2000 in the background. Expensive!
Work in progress
As you stroll around the studio you can also pop in to the artist room and see the drawings by the concept artists Rob Bliss.
The Magic continues… Hogwarts Castle
And when you think the fun is over…. the shiny Hogwarts Castle appears in front of your eyes. They saved the best for last!
It took 40 days, a team of 40 artists and crew-members to build this marvel. More than 50 sculptors, painters and other artists maintained the castle during production.
To make Hogwarts appear even more real, artists borrowed real courtyards from Alnwick Castle and Durham Cathedral, where scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were shot. Everything is perfectly hand-sculpted to scale and so beautiful.
Just before leaving the studio you get to wander through the Ollivanders Wand shop featuring thousands of individually hand crafted wands and wand boxes. The boxes are named after more than 4000 talented people who worked behind the scenes of Harry Potter for over a decade!
It was really great to visit the studios and see the making of Harry Potter. So much talent and precision went into making one of the most successful film series of all times. And not without the team behind the scenes the magic was brought to life.
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