Veronika and I went to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London to enjoy the Making of Harry Potter. Since our tickets were in the late afternoon, we could enjoy a lovely day in London before dragging our exhausted feet to the big event. We arrived with several shopping bags full of presents, tea, and sweets. We left them at the concierge, and then we enjoyed some coffee for a while. The coffee shop had already decorations, but the real deal was inside the tour. [I won’t spoil it too much so when you go there you’ll be as surprised as we were.]
I’m a Slytherin. So, I had to go with my wand and a Slytherin tee. Although I like characters from other houses (Luna and Newt), my traits are Slytherin all the way. However, I also share much with Ravenclaw. So, I guess I might be a Raverin. Ha! Anyway, we went in with all our hopes and dreams up, and the place just gave us even more. Including some incredible surprises.
If you go, be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you don’t want your feet to panic. By the time I arrived at the studios, my feet were already hurting quite a lot. I forgot the pain as soon as I discovered what was inside Hogwarts. You get a brilliant surprise when entering, and you get to find out that the movies cheat on us quite a lot. Places looked immense in the films, while in fact, they were quite small in comparison. However, the number of details everywhere was staggering. I need to go again to enjoy the full ride again and notice what I didn’t because you can’t take in such an amount of tiny details!
The Great Hall is impressive. It isn’t as massive as in the movie, but it’s breathtaking nonetheless. You’ll see the places in your House with some mannequins wearing the uniforms. You’ll see many costumes through the tour, including the ones from the Yule Ball. They’re all super detailed, even the “crappy ones.”
The Gryffindor dormitory was super cute. However, you notice that the beds are tiny. In the first movie, the kids would fit in the beds. But as they grew up, they wouldn’t fit anymore. So, the wizards behind the cameras had to make us believe that they did. They didn’t change the settings for the film every time Harry, Ron or Hermione got taller. Instead, they would take several camera takes to make us believe that they were comfortable in their beds. The actors also curled up to fit in the beds.
Movie-making magic appears in other places, not only in the Gryffindor dormitory. Dumbledore’s Office also has many secrets. For example, there’re hundreds of old books in his office. Most of them are phonebooks covered in leather. The Memory Cabinet has hand-labeled and hand-made vials. The costumes are also staggering and full of details. They’re also worth a cool close look.
We both took our sweet time making tons of pictures of the Potions class where Professor Snape used to lurk. It’s a very peculiar place, with tons of jars and bottles. It does look like it’s in the darkest parts of the castle. However, it’s just a set, and the light game plays enough magic to make us believe it’s located in a dungeon. It’s also pretty small. Again, what we see in the movies is magnificent and massive. The reality is packed with details and contained in small spaces.
Hagrid’s Hut is also fantastic. And, as you might be expecting: small. I also took many pictures of it, but I think none of them do it justice. Many places look amazing when you’re looking at them with your naked eye. However, the lights aren’t merciful with cameras, and it’s pretty tricky to get a good shot in some places. Especially if there’re spiders in it.
Did you just mention spiders? Giant spiders were nearby Hagrid’s Hut. You’ll go into the forest, and you’ll see some mechanical animals. But they’re too realistic, and the damn spiders are more prominent than a sofa, and they move. I know that they won’t unhang themselves from their places and pursue me through the tour, but still, they were creepy enough for us to have the chills while walking in the forest. You also get to play with buttons and make thunder, for example. You’ll find that some incredible animals are frightening without the special effects. Some are even disappointing. But it was great to know how the magicians behind the cameras made it happen. Seriously, the movies have a lot of work!
We entered the forest thinking it would be just dark. The spiders made our pace go quicker. When you go out, you find a small store. Not all items shown in this store are available at the store by the end of the tour. If you see something that you fancy, ask the staff if it’s only there or if you’ll be able to find it later. In case of doubt: take it! Even if it’s a super plush and you have to drag it around afterward.
Malfoy Manor is also frightening, primarily because of the mannequins. They are creepy. Nearby you get to see the Riddle Family Gravestone and other monuments. And also Professor Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic Office. It’s all pink, with tons of pink details. Cats appear as patterns almost everywhere. Look for the details because they’re amazing (even if they’re super pink, kitsch, and odd-looking.)
By the time we arrived at the middle of the tour, our feet were panicking. You get to try butterbeer, but I didn’t like it. It was too sweet! After creating my own at home, I couldn’t swallow the one in the cafeteria. It’s a diabetic bomb.
The Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express were impressive. It’s all in the set, and you get to admire a full sized train. It isn’t that long, but it’s a regular and beautiful train that will spark your imagination. There’s a shop in the train station too. You can buy many sweets, but there’re also items that we didn’t see at the store at the end of the tour. If you like the station and the platform, consider buying what you need here.
In the backlot, you get to see Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, and the Hogwarts Bridge. You can go to the Dursleys home, but it’s super tiny! Remember the scene when they’re flooding with cards inviting Harry to Hogwarts? Well, the room is small. They fooled all of us well. You can also walk on the bridge, so take your chance and do it, it’s fun!
You also get to see all the creature effects, masks, makeup explanations, and miniatures of buildings. It’s all breathtaking. But it’s even more impressive when you arrive in Diagon Alley. It’s small but adorable. You can’t enter any of the shops, but just walking through the Diagon Alley was a pleasure. I felt like in a dream. I wished the shops were real, and we could have gone in to buy some wands and sweets.
By the end of the tour, you get to see Hogwarts Castle Model. It’s impressive. I could be writing for hours about it, but I wouldn’t do it any justice. I think that even the pictures I took do it no justice. You have to go there and enjoy the view. You get to walk in a circle so you can enjoy every single detail of it. (This is one of those times where you want to be as tiny as an ant so you can enjoy everything!)
We had so much fun during the tour. Our feet ached, but we were awed by all the things we saw. It was almost as if we were in the movies. When we finally arrived at the shop at the end of the tour, we were obviously exhausted but happy and ready to find a souvenir. You would be amazed at how difficult it’s to choose from the tons of items they had in it. They also had super cute postcards that I will use to surprise someone.
By the time we took our train back to Brighton, we were not only smashed but incredibly tired. We arrived back home super late, and too tired to eat anything. It was then when we decided to take it easy the rest of the days. (We wouldn’t exactly take it easy since we ended up walking a lot and eating a lot as well.)
We had so much fun together. Veronika certainly knows how to get fun. After buying enough fudge for a lifetime, and tea for a decade, she went back home. There will be a second part, but next time we’ll walk in Munich.
I’m so glad we connected so well and met thanks to Loki. We share fandoms, many of our darlings, and our shopping sprees. Tea time is cool when you enjoy it with magical friends. [I need to go back to enjoy the tour once more. I certainly missed many things!]
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