Behind The Scenes of Harry Potter, Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour London
The London tour is really impressive, immersive and vast. Whilst I expect that if you take children you could whizz through relatively quickly, I rented the audio guide and took around 4 hours. However I wished I could have had more time! At every turn is something beautiful and detailed.
When you first enter the tour you are greeted by Hogwarts Great Hall.
"Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles which were floating in mid-air over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the Hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting." - J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The next room contains lots of different Harry Potter sets. In the centre is a fenced off area filled with props, that you could look at it for ages and still not see everything. It really struck me how much time and effort went into creating every single detail. And how the Harry Potter films were a huge industry in themselves involving so many people. At first I wondered why bother - with tiny details the viewer might not notice. But when immersed like this I was so glad that they did. I got a greater sense of the overall cohesive style of the Harry Potter films, which I have to say I didn't appreciate from purely watching the films. A lot of it left me with a sense of shabbiness and dirt (planned...) But once going back out into the real world I noticed anew how shabby things actually are - and that really what they have created by various ageing techniques is more realism.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
The Gryffindor common room (below) was especially worn down or "well-loved". Yet when watching the films it was the opulence of Hogwarts that had come across to me personally. Out of interest the large portrait in this picture is of a young Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall) and very beautiful she was too!
Whilst on the tour I also realised how classical the design style was - frequently harking back to times gone by - be it the 1950s, 1920s (see snitch above) Victorian or even Medieval era (Common room below.) It all combines to create a timeless and unique style to the films, the first of which came out 15 years ago now, but whose appeal continues to endure.
The tour also fully covers the darker side of the Potter universe. There's the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge's room, Borgin & Bourkes and of course the door leading to the Chamber of Secrets. Given the opportunity to stare for a good long time, you really see how terrifying and chilling some of items and sets are up close. The death eater's masks and Malfoy Mansion are especially creepy.
After passing through the cafe where you can enjoy butter beer (which is well worth trying) you enter rooms which show more props and behind the scenes glimpses as to how things were done. It feels like walking around a beautiful art gallery filled with curios.
A mermaid, which looks just like it's from a sideshow
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Beautiful Concept Artwork
One of the many gems is, very Victorian, Diagon Alley. Shops like Florish and Blotts, Ollivanders, The Apothecary and of course Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes are all there. I had also visited The Museum of London Docklands on the same trip to London. At the Museum is a street scene recreation from 1840 and I have to say it's somewhat similar! There was even an 'Animal Emporium' at the Docklands Museum similar to 'The Magical Menagerie' on Diagon Alley on the Tour. But rather than the baby pygmy puffs in the HP version, the Docklands Animal Emporium was chocked full of all sorts of 'exotics' that would have come into the London docks - parrots and mammals such as 2 camels living in a tiny space between two shelving units, with a gate across it.
In one of the final rooms of the tour is a huge, intricate Hogwarts. This photo doesn't show it to scale, but it fills the whole room and elicits a similar reaction as in the book:
'"Yeh'll get your firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec,' Hagrid called over his shoulder 'jus' round this bend here.'
There was a loud 'Oooooh!'
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, it's windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers." - J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
If you are a Harry Potter fan and you get the chance definitely visit the tour! It's really quite something. For more info see: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
They actively encourage photo taking and sharing!
If you enjoyed my photos bear me in mind! I am a photographer in Glasgow and Edinburgh taking family photography and also photos for performers. You can find more examples of my work at: www.katecurryphotography.co.uk. To contact me for further information on sessions email: Katecurryphotographyfirstname.lastname@example.org