Last Monday while in London, Alex, Anna, Caity and I hopped on the Overground and headed for the Warner Brothers Studios in Watford, to tour the Harry Potter studios!!! I’ll throw it out there right now, if you are ever in London and are even in the slightest a Harry Potter fan, you must make an effort to go to the Studio Tour.
When you first embark on the tour, you are taken to into movie theater (or cinema as they call it in England) where you watch a short film of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) talk about the sets you are about to see from all eight Harry Potter films, and how it is their second home where they grew up over the past ten years. After the film screen goes black, the Hogwarts magic sets in and the screen rises to reveal the doors to the Great Hall!
Daniel Radcliffe’s first robes as Harry Potter
Moaning Myrtle’s robes, the actress was the oldest of all the “students” at 45!
After a brieft run down of everything in the Great Hall by a staff member, we were set loose into the next room full of sets and props from all eight movies!
Yule Ball costumes and decor from the fourth movie (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
Notes on how to make the “I must not tell lies” cuts and scars
The hall in the Leaky Cauldron, designed with “forced perspective” to look 50 feet long
Professor Snape and Professor Slughorn’s costumes and potions classroom
The Mirror or Erised from the first movie (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
The Fat Lady, entrance to Gryffindor common room
The common room!
Harry and Ron’s Christmas sweaters from the first movie!
Magic staircase to Dumbledore’s office
The man in his office, himself!
The Goblet of Fire and the egg from the second round of the Triwizard Tournament
Miscellaneous props- Azkaban prisoner number, the Time Turner necklace, the Diluminator, Rita Skeeta’s journal and enchanted feather pen, the Remembrall, the Golden Snitch, teh Crystal Goblet, the Sorcers Stone, and Professor Slughorn’s hourglass
Horcruxs! Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem, the Resurrection Stone ring, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, Tom Riddle’s Diary, and Salazar Slytherin’s locket
The entrances to the Chamber of Secrets and the door to vault 713 in Gringotts
The Burrow, home of the Weasleys
“Magic is Might” statue
Bellatrix Lestrange and Lord Voldemort’s costumes
Newspapers, Harry’s letter from Hogwarts, Ron’s Howler and much more!
The Black Family Tree tapestry, actually hand painted onto canvas fabric
Ministry of Magic Floo Network and offices
Dolores Umbridge’s outfits; as she gained power in the Ministry, her wardrobe got progressively pinker, as did the accents of the clothing of her workers
Dolores Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic. One of the prop buyers traveled all over London buying little plates, and then the next day the Visual Effects team filmed cats doing all kinds of things, and inserted the cat footage onto the plates post-production using chroma green paint on them.
The Knight Bus that picks up Harry in the beginning of the third movie (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). The 22 foot tall bus was created from pieces of three vintage double decker buses from London. Two versions were built, one that was motorized and a stunt version.
The Covered Bridge
Number 4 Privet Drive, home of the Dursleys! The first film was filmed in Bracknell, Berkshire, but when it was realized that they would need to shoot the exterior in future films, the decision to recreate the street in the studio was made.
Harry’s bedroom in the cupbord under the stairs
Tom Riddle’s gravestone
The flying motorcycle
The flying car
Butterbeer! Essentially drinking carmel, it’s so good!
Gringotts Bank goblins masks
The dummy of Bathilda Bagshot
A molding of Voldemort on the back of Professor Quirl’s head from the first movie
Doby, Monster Book of Monsters, Aunt Marge’s swollen hands from the third movie, and a Dementor hand
Mermaid head from the second task in the Triwizard Tournament
Victor Krum as a shark from the second task in the Triwizard Tournament
Professor Lupin’s werewolf form from the third movie
Voldemort’s body robot from the fourth movie, yes it moves and breathes, and yes it’s creepy!
Professor Burbage and Aunt Marge’s “bodies”
Buckbeak robot! Extremely lifelike
Walking down the Diagon Alley!
Hogwarts! What they would use to film scences that would pan over the grounds or zoom in on a certain area, the detail is beyond impressive
At the end of the tour, you walk into a room filled from floor to ceiling with wand boxes, each one with the name of someone that worked on any of the eight films
It was so surreal walking on all of the sets, it just seemed like a small replica of a location in the movie and not the real thing, special effects truly are magic! I know first hand the magic of special effects, because one of the stops on tour is the Green Room! You get to “drive” the flying car while being chased by the Hogwarts Express like in the second movie, and “fly” on a broomstick through London! Movie making is pretty crazy, to say the least. As I said before, I highly recommend you visit the studios if you are anywhere near by!
P.S. Of course I couldn’t leave the studio without souvenir, so here is the latest mug I’ve added to my collection, the Marauders Map Mug!
That is so cool!