Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Invasion, Part 9: As Much Harry Potter as You Can Possibly Stand

For the last week or so, I've been working my way through Robert K. Massie's book Nicholas and Alexandra, which is utterly fascinating.  Those two were so completely ill-suited personality-wise to govern a country, much less one as large and complex as Russia and especially during World War I.  Sometimes it's a little difficult to keep all of the people straight, especially since half the Romanov family seems to be called by one of maybe four or five names (reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the introduction of the extended family), but I've been taking it a little slow and reading just a chapter or two at a time.  What's particularly fascinating is the insight to Alexandra's psyche and how their son's hemophilia dominated her thought patterns and had such a big impact on everything that she did, especially how she revered Rasputin because she thought he miraculously helped her son.  I'm only a bit over halfway through, though that first half covered the first 20 years of their marriage and it looks like the second half will be all about World War I.  Still, totally fascinating and I recommend it if you've got an interest in Russian history like I do.  Massie's biography of Catherine the Great was actually the first book I got on my Kindle, and it is likewise fascinating.  Sometime down the line I'll have to buy his book about Peter the Great as well.

Anyway, you're not here for my book reviews (probably), but maybe you're interested in the last batch of pictures from the Harry Potter studio tour.  So let's get to it.  We pick up again in Diagon Alley.

Here's the sign for Ollivander's, Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C.  The level of detail on everything in the HP world is amazing; look at the weathering on that sign.

Again, I wish I could go inside the shops in Diagon Alley and really examine all the interesting things for sale!

Slug & Jiggers is a fantastic name for an apothecary.

Small-scale table and chairs atop the bay window for Florian Fortescue's ice cream parlor.

Wizard version of a Barnes & Noble :)

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes complete with violent orange facade.

All the best Wizarding fashions available here.

This is the statue of the architect of Hogwarts, with mascots for the four houses around his feet.  Last time I wasn't able to get a full-body shot of this but this time I was successful.

Concept art.  a.) I want this toy pegasus and b.) has anyone seen it in the movies anywhere?


Once again, the scale model of Hogwarts is totally awe-inspiring.  I read through all the information they had on computers around the model and it's amazing how many steps were involved to, say, tile the roofs.  Such a huge amount of work went into this and it's truly spectacular.

This bit of the model is a replica of the courtyard at Alnwick Castle, where they did some filming for the first two movies.

Last of the model shots for this time around.  I'm glad I took the bigger camera this time around, it was fun trying to get clear shots in the low light and to get interesting pics of the minutiae of the Harry Potter universe.  Last up are a few random shots from the Invaders.

Much better pic of the Gray Lady's dress from Sorcerer's Stone than I was able to get.

Another Educational Decree.

Devlin & Laura aboard the Knight Bus.  Note the sign says "All Destinations...Nothing Underwater".

Hogwarts Bridge with the Potters' ruined house behind (because geography is meaningless on a movie studio soundstage).

Wonder what House Devlin was Sorted into.  Me, I think I'd be a Ravenclaw.

So Coke has this thing where all the bottles say "Share a Coke with friends" or else a random name, as if we're all going to go around sharing Coke bottles with the first person we meet named Francesca.  But Dad got one exhorting him to share a Coke with Richard (which is his name, if I haven't mentioned it previously).  I once got a pair of bottles with the names Natalie and Natasha, so I told Lee we should have twin girls and name them that.  He just looked at me like I've lost my marbles, but I'm used to that.

And last of all here's Umbridge's super-pink Ministry office.

Next up is probably a stitching update, and then...maybe more London photos, I don't know :)  Cheers!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Invasion, Part 8: More Harry Potter

If you're waiting on the edge of your seat for a.) the next bit of news on my continuing wrist issues or b.) more Harry Potter pictures, you're in luck today, 'cause I have both.  First up, my wrist:  I was told by one doc that I'd need surgery on my right wrist because one of the bones in my arm was too long in relation to the other one.  So yesterday I had my second consult with an orthopedic surgeon in Cambridge, and he thinks that while my bones are in a nonstandard configuration (read:  I'm slightly deformed but it seems to work okay for me), my issue is a tendon problem rather than the bone thing.  So he gave me a steroid shot (the shot itself was far less painful than I thought it would be, so thank goodness for that) and said to give the shot up to 6 to 8 weeks and see if it helps with the chronic pain.  If not, we can discuss surgery to alleviate pressure on this tendon.

Today, my wrist hurts pretty abominably, but I'm not sure if that's because of the steroid shot or because I did two gym workouts earlier this week and stupidly worked out arms on Monday.  My wrist hurt yesterday morning before the doc appointment, so maybe it's the shot *and* the workout.  Either way, I'm kinda wishing I was left-handed.  Which makes me want to watch the Princess Bride (ten thousand geek points if you know WHY I want to watch the Princess Bride without me 'splaining the left-handed thing).

So if you're here for the Harry Potter pictures, you probably just skipped right over all these wordy words and went straight for the pics.

Bad guy wardrobe!

I think I said this before, there's a case at the end of the first soundstage where they've got tons of books and printed stuff that you see in the movies, and I couldn't get good pics of that stuff last time so I swear I spent a good half hour there this time taking TONS of pictures.  Here's the tome entitled Hogwarts:  A History, which Hermione was so fond of quoting.  And it looks fantastic.  Fun fact:  You see tons of books in Dumbledore's office; they're actually phone books covered with aged leather.

Kitten stationery from the dreaded Dolores Umbridge.

For some reason the Chocolate Frog always looks black in pictures; really it looks like it's made out of chocolate though I bet it's not.

More books.  Hermione studied ancient runes; they brewed Polyjuice Potion in Chamber of Secrets from Moste Potente Potions, and Neville Longbottom told Harry about gillyweed after reading 1000 Magical Herbs & Fungi.  That, or it was the Herbology textbook.

I think this ad for a station wagon broom is absolutely hilarious.

Dark Arts textbooks...love how the one on the right looks like a useless '60s reject pamphlet.

Harry's first Hogwarts Express train ticket.

And a couple of the letters Harry received toward the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone.

The Dursleys' house on Privet Drive.

And my dad on the Hogwarts bridge.

Yay, this time it doesn't look so much like I'm trying to take pictures up the goblins' noses.

Luna's lion hat that she wore to Quidditch matches.

Scary mermaid from the Black Lake, as seen in Goblet of Fire.

Here's a pic to give you nightmares, this time my picture of Aragog from Chamber of Secrets actually turned out pretty well.

Hungarian Horntail from Goblet of Fire.

Once again, I am disappointed the pictures on the newspapers don't move in real life.

Mom in front of mini-Gringotts.

And we'll end today on a pic of some of the signs in Diagon Alley.  That's it for today, the last third of the Harry Potter pics coming your way soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Invasion, Part 7: Harry Potter

Dad said YAY POTTER so here we are with more Invasion pictures.  Lee and I took the Invaders to the Harry Potter studio tour outside London; you might remember that we went last year and it took me three posts to get through the pictures (here, here, and here).  Sooooo it's going to take another three posts this time because I took A LOT of pictures, this time with our big camera.  Some of the pics might look similar to the first go-round, but hopefully I got some higher-quality shots this time.

The tour starts out in the Great Hall, which is AWE.SOME.  And the entire place is a photographic challenge due to the low light conditions, but I gave it a valiant effort.

This is where the House points are recorded, green for Slytherin, blue for Ravenclaw, red for Gryffindor, and yellow for Hufflepuff.  From reading the books, I always imagined this being really, really large and set into the wall.

Dumbledore at the podium to give the start-of-term address.

I sneaked back into the Great Hall just before they let the next crowd of people in and managed to get this wide shot.

Ice sculptures:  not really made of ice.

Chocolate goodies:  not really made of chocolate.

But a few of the Educational Decrees put up under Umbridge's reign of terror in Order of the Phoenix.

Elf and troll armor.  I'm rather chuffed with this pic as I took it by standing on a bench and holding the camera up over the fence around the prop cage.  Not bad for not being able to line it up looking through the viewfinder.

The Gryffindor common room.  See the painting on the right?  That's a young Minerva McGonagall with her cat form as well, since she's an Animagus.

More common room, you can see the squashy armchairs and shabby carpet.

McGonagall's portrait.

Ok, so I'm kinda fascinated with the giant clock from Prisoner of Azkaban (my personal favorite of the movies).  It took a LOT of tries to get a fairly clear pic.

Costumes for Hermione, Ron and Harry.

Bottle of Skele-Gro from Chamber of Secrets, also in the prop cage.

I think maybe this was from a Gringotts vault?

Ravenclaw's diadem turned Horcrux.

Work surface in the Potions classroom, and is it wrong that I want a copy of Advanced Potion Making in my own library?

Potions ingredients.  I don't even want to know how one harvests bouncing spider juice.

Well, this one isn't quite as clear as I might like, but it's Molly Weasley's clock that shows where all the members of her family are:  work school, Quidditch, mortal peril.  You know, the usual places.

Costumes for Sirius, Tonks and Lupin.

Back next time with more Potter paraphernalia.