Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harry Potter Tour, Part 1

I kind of feel like I'm talking to myself here (that's totally your cue to leave me a comment, like my girl Sadie I am a shameless attention hound) but I'll post something new anyway.  Last weekend, Lee took me to the Warner Brothers studios outside of London so we could see...

Woot woot, it's the making of Harry Potter studio tour! Squee!

Here's me (and my brand new short 'do) eagerly waiting opening time so we could go inside.  And that's one of the chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (hey, that's what they call it everywhere but the US).

Once we got inside, we queued up (Brits are big on queues) and walked past this, Harry's first home in the cupboard under the stairs.  We had a closet like that at our house in Japan and we always called it the Harry Potter closet.  In our house now though it's just a little cubbyhole so there's a squishy dog bed in there.

This is the main entryway; click any of the pictures to see them larger.  Note the pictures of the HP characters all around the room.  So once you queue up, they let you into a room where you get a brief introduction to the studio and then you watch a short film.  Then they more or less turn you loose to do your own self-guided tours around the two sound stages; average tour time is 3 hours but since I wanted to see EVERYTHING we took more like four and a half.  Lee got us the audio guides (totally recommend if you go to this) and so we wandered slowly around just taking it all in:  props, costumes, entire sets, you name it and it was there.  And it was AWESOME.

The lighting conditions weren't real conducive to good photographs, so we'll just have to make do with what I got.  This is the dress worn by the Gray Lady in the first movie (you see her and the other ghosts swoop in during the first feast at Hogwarts after the sorting).  (I find it interesting that my computer thinks so many real words are misspelled when they aren't, but it has no problem recognizing Hogwarts or Vader.  Hmm.)

The first place we saw was the Great Hall, which is pretty huge and awesome (did I say that already?)  They wired up the whatever-you-call-these-guys so they had fake flames in the braziers.  They had several costumes set up on either side of the hall (like the Gray Lady's above) and we got a good look at the fireplace.  You can never really see it in the movies, but the Hogwarts crest is inside the fireplace.

This is where they keep track of the house points; we watched Prisoner of Azkaban (ooh, computer doesn't like Azkaban) and you can catch a glimpse of this in that movie though I didn't see it in the first two.  Since we did this tour, Lee and I decided to rewatch all the movies in order.  Anyway, green is Slytherin, blue is Ravenclaw, red is Gryffindor, and gold is Hufflepuff.

There's the second Dumbledore at the lectern.  Interesting note on costumes:  the first two movies, Richard Harris had medieval robes, but when Michael Gambon took over the role, his costumes were much more "hippie wizard" (that was the term used by the costume designer).  And Snape's costume did not change for 8 films, except that they made his cloak longer in the last movie so he'd look cooler going out the window.

After the Great Hall, you go through some doors and into the sound stage, where you just walk around and look at all the stuff on display and you can stay as long as you want (or until you're starving, which is what made me finally hurry up).

Here are the costumes for Harry, Hermione, and Cho Chang at the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire.  I always wanted a better look at Cho's dress, isn't it gorgeous?  And you can buy a replica of Hermione's dress in the shop for the paltry sum of 265 pounds, or just her little beaded handbag for 70 pounds.

This was the table centerpiece at the Yule Ball.

I forget which feast this was from.  Most of the food you see in Hogwarts feasts is fake (there are a few real items though).  I think the chocolate phoenix cake is actually chocolate...I'm not going to try to taste-test it though.

More costumes, the bright green lining on the inside of the Invisibility Cloak is for when they do the greenscreen effects.  Aww dang, looks like I didn't take any pics at all in the Gryffindor common room or Harry's dorm.  The funny part about Harry's dorm is they made the beds like 5 1/2 feet long, so by the time the last movie was made, all the actors' feet hung over the bottoms of the beds.

This is a prop cage; it had all kinds of fun stuff to look at.  Here you can see elf armor next to troll armor.

The giant clock pendulum from Prisoner of Azkaban.  It took lots of tries to get even a crummy picture of this.

On my way to the headmaster's office...they said the phoenix guarding Dumbledore's office was one of the most difficult mechanical contraptions they made.  They made two, one that spun and one that just looked cool.

Kind of want one in my house...

There's the bottle of Skele-Gro from Chamber of Secrets when Professor Lockhart de-boned Harry's arm after a Quidditch match gone wrong.

There's the gramophone that Professor McGonagall used to teach the Gryffindors how to dance in Goblet of Fire, and in the case you can see the board that Sirius holds up in all his mug shots.

This is how they kept track of all the wands; each wand was assigned a number and at the end of the day each actor had to turn his or her wand back in.

Inside Dumbledore's office, this is the ornate case where he kept all the memories he collected.  There are over 800 vials inside, each one hand-labeled.

Inside the Potions classroom; only half the set is still up, and there are around 500 jars along the walls.  In the original set they had over 1000, containing baked animal bones and all kinds of funky-looking plants and other stuff.

And here's Professor Slughorn's costume from Half-Blood Prince.

Well, since I like to drag things out, and since I already shared over 20 pictures today, that's all she wrote for now.  And I'm not sharing anymore unless I know someone is out there reading!  Aside from Lee, who always reads the blog so he can find out what he's been doing.  Nox!


Tanya said...

Well I shared this post with my son and husband! :) We all got a kick out of it. And I commented! haha

Giffysk8s said...

I thought that I always comment unless Blogger refuses to believe that I am not a robot. :) I know I'm not a Fembot, but maybe I'm a Geekbot, ha ha. I'll check to see if I've missed any posts.

Ok, I sooooooo want to see Potterville! (I wonder if anybody will get my lame joke. Potterville as in It's a Wonderful Life. Ha ha.) Now I want to reread all of the HP books and look at your photos as I do. Then I'll rewatch all of the movies. Now I just need the time do it all.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the new 'do!

Alexis said...

I just found out about this tour a couple months ago and have added it to my Must-do list for the next time we get to England! Last time we took a bus tour and saw the Room the Great Hall was replicated from!

Yxl Ian said...

it looks very cool.I like Harry Potter~~

Anonymous said...

Thanks Christy! I live the photos! T

CCsMom said...

OK, I got on here tonight SPECIFICALLY to get caught up on my comments to your blog. So there.

LOVE Hermione's dress. That was gorgeous on her. Wow, these kids grew up right in front of our eyes, didn't they?!!!

And I'm with you about the Phoenix in the Headmaster's office. Wow, that is awesome!

We probably won't be able to go here next summer, but I definitely want to go to the train station.

On to the next post that I missed commenting on. Love you!