I am so excited to finally have a new Harry Potter book in my hands! I picked up my copy of ‘The Cursed Child’ today, and can’t wait to jump into it tonight!
With all of these Harry Potter emotions and memories fluttering about, I thought it was finally time to share my studio tour adventures. After all, it’s only been three years!
Guys…you don’t even know…my love for Harry Potter runs deep. I have literally crossed an ocean to stand on set of this magical world brought to life (wasn’t the sole purpose for my travels, but it was major!). Guys – this shiz is real! It’s all still there! The studio preserved so much from these films it’s just insane!
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, after the filming of the Harry Potter series ended, the studio decided to keep most of the props and sets up and running for fans to come explore. Thus, we have ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden (just outside of London).
Totally overwhelming and magical and beautiful and terrifying…it’s almost too much to take in it’s so real! Looking back, I so desperately wish we had taken more pictures, but we just spent hours walking around taking it all in; it just felt wrong to dwell on a single photo that could never do the scale of this world justice.
This studio and backlot are huge! The great hall – real! After filming at the Oxford dining hall for the first film, they came back to the studio and built the hall, in its entirety, from the ground up with all real materials. That’s how big we’re talking with these sets. Full-scale. No BS. Ginormously awesome! Oh and the detail – insane! From the tiniest prop to the paintings in the background, every tiny, seemingly insignificant detail has been so carefully brought to life. (Can you tell I’m still excited???)
I’m not even going to try to hide the fact that I shed a tear when those doors opened to the great hall. It was an absolutely indescribable moment, when something you’ve wanted so desperately to be real, is in fact there before your eyes. Sure, some of that emotion was from exhaustion and jet-lag, but I’m man enough to say that it was mostly awe at the glorious adventures that stood before me.
The set for the Ministry of Magic was giant! The way it looks on screen is actually what it looks like in person. Totally, freaking huge. Have I said ‘huge’ enough to get my point across? No, I’m not some nutcase, fangirl. I mean, yes, I am a fan and a girl, but not totally crazy. You’ll just have to pardon my excitement. It’s just that I grew up with Harry Potter. And while yes, I realize it may be just a tad creepy or weird for a grown woman to be freaking out so much over a fictional world, the truth is that I still believe in that world. It was my escape when I went through some seriously dark times, and later, it was what helped bring me and my husband together over our love for great literature. To get to actually go to this world…there just aren’t words.
I even took the most fascinating and enlightening Harry Potter literature course while at university, where you can’t even believe how much detail and history we delved into (J.K. Rowling is a genius! I bow down to thee!). This was in the first year that these courses were introduced in colleges around the country, and I can honestly say that I learned more in that one course than I may have in all of my studies for my degree. So, when I say I know my Harry Potter, I mean it!
Anyway, one of the coolest parts of this studio tour, aside from the obvious, is that many, if not most, of the people working there actually worked on and were in the films. It was so neat going around and hearing their stories. While in the dormitory, one Gryffindor told a story of how he made his big screen debut as an extra running in the background of the last film. During one of the takes, he got stepped on and flew across the set, totally on accident, and got hurt. Ouch. But, they loved it so much (I guess that whole dying in pain thing worked for them), they asked him to do it again, and well, it made the final cut.
[Side Note: If anyone out there is looking to cast someone great at falling on cue, I’m your girl! Just tell me to walk across a room. I can promise you I will find a way to fall down, run into something, or get hurt. Ask anyone who’s ever met me. Pure gold, right here!]
Oh! And everything moves! Like, literally everything! Even those elements that you might have just thought were CG were actually built and animated. You walk from room, to room, set to set and everything is real and moving. Even Buckbeak! My husband was totally over the moon when he saw Buckbeak! He was completely built and fully animated.
Some props and puppets were almost too real. The, hmm, how do you describe this – dead lizard baby Voldemort?? Yeah, he was fully in motion and creeped the hell out of me so much that I had to walk away. It was like watching your worst nightmare stare you in the face. Damn, these guys are good! (Honestly, to me that lizard baby is what all really fresh babies look like…totally terrified of them…I don’t know.)
Anyway, I apologize for these thoughts being so scattered. There’s just so much to say! I am absolutely dying to go back! You almost have to, there’s so much to see. You must go!
Here are just a few pictures (some old cell phone, sorry) from our visit. Not sure where the others got off to, but hey! I guess that means there will be a part two! Oh, and that one will have video!!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to return to the magical world that is Harry Potter to catch up on the last 19 years!
(My very own man-Potter.)
Have you been to the Harry Potter studio tour?