Friday, April 13th was magical! I took a visit to the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden (right outside of London) for The Making of Harry Potter. Every corner we turned had something new and exciting from the movies, and I swear I took a picture of every inch of the studios. There was so much to see, and the pictures really don’t do it justice. It started with a short movie about how Harry Potter became popular throughout the world then Daniel, Emma, and Rupert came on screen to share their experiences from their time spent at the studio. Then, the doors to the Great Hall appeared and we were able to begin the tour. It took Cassie and me about 4 hours to complete the whole tour because we wanted to spend time seeing everything and listening to everything Tom Felton was telling us on the audio guide. We saw everything from the costumes and wigs they wore to how the creatures were made to the sets of the Burrow, the Ministry of Magic, the cupboard under the stairs, Diagon Alley, and different rooms of Hogwarts.
We saw how the mandrakes work, the creepy baby Voldemort from the last movie, and replicas of Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, and James and Oliver Phelps (they get the same one but it has a detachable ear so they can just put it on when they need it for Fred) that are used as doubles in the movies. Did you know whenever Hagrid needs to carry someone they use a floppy replica that is only about 80% of the actual size of the actor to make Hagrid appear bigger? For example, when Harry is being carried by Hagrid in Deathly Hallows Part 2, it’s not Daniel Radcliffe but a lookalike doll. And they were incredibly lifelike and creepy. Believe me. Emma’s was spot on, and I couldn’t look at it for too long without being freaked out. They also used a replica for Katie Bell when she was being thrown around in the air in Half-Blood Prince because, as the cute little old lady who was explaining it told us, you can’t legally thrash a human being around like that.
The tour saved the three best things for last: Diagon Alley, the scale model of Hogwarts, and the wand room. Diagon Alley really got to me. Everyone knows my obsession with the Weasley twins. As soon as we turned the corner to Diagon Alley, the bright colors (and the 20 foot version of one twin) of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes caught my eye. The detail put into this one shop was incredible. The Puking Pastilles display was out and running. Every toy and gag gift was painted with such color and detail that it was hard not to spend an hour staring into the windows of the joke shop alone. There was so much to see everywhere. The filmmakers put so much work into creating this magical world but we don’t really get a chance to see on screen all the detail they put into every single set. It was wonderful to look at everything up close and see what we are missing out on because it was tucked away behind the actors. The scale model of Hogwarts was breathtaking. It was much bigger than I was expecting but was exactly what I wanted to see. We were at Hogwarts!!! Ahh! It was beautiful. Words cannot describe the feelings we all had when we saw it for the first time. And last but not least, before you exited into the gift shop, was a room full of beautiful wooden wand boxes. In the center was the following quote by JK Rowling:
No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
After reading the quote, I looked closely at the wand boxes to see each one had a name on it. After trying to pull on a box and realizing they weren’t going to move, I finally looked at the man working in the room. He told me that each box had the name of a cast or crew member and every single person who worked on the eight films was represented. The best part was that no person was more important than anyone else. JK Rowling was surrounded by crew members I’ve never heard of. The trio was split up (as were the twins). Dame Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, and Helena Bonham Carter were mixed throughout the people as well. It really showed how important each and every person is to the filmmaking process.
Also, the Burrow is officially what I want my house to be like when I’m older. Everything was perfectly mismatched and the window in the kitchen was amazing. (Once again, it was something I never really paid attention to in the films.)
P.S. This is only a small fraction of the pictures I took. Apparently WordPress has an upload limit and I have exceeded that limit. 😦 So, from here on out, my blog posts will not include images. Sorry! If you want to see pictures from now on, please check my Facebook.