Around the world, people know books about a famous little wizard named Harry Potter. They were written by J.K. Rowling. The first book came out in 1997, and it is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The first movie came out in 2001. Many of the sets, props and costumes for the Harry Potter films are still around in the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden, outside of London. There, we saw models of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sketches of unicorns and many other creatures, costumes worn in the movie (including some dusty jeans and a ripped jacket), and the “real” Diagon Alley.
My parents, sister, uncles, and I walked through a door. Inside I was expecting to meet Harry or fly on a broomstick, but instead there was a security check. This would be a loooooong day. Once we were done with the security check (boring), we waited for the studio to open (also boring), and then we went to another room where a woman was saying things like, “If you’re a Slytherin fan, raise your hands. If you’re a Hufflepuff fan, shout out.” You are probably as bored as I was then, because you probably don’t want to here the things she said, which were mainly about where photos are allowed. Finally, she let us go to the fun part.
The fun part included exactly what you think it included, things that don’t bore you to death. At the moment I can list lots of fun things for you, like slides, movies, and spaghetti carbonara, but you probably don’t like to read lists, especially long ones, so I will skip that and start writing what you want to read. Here goes: We entered the Hogwarts Great Hall, the same one in the movie. It wasn’t exactly the same because this one had an unfinished ceiling. In the movies, they use visual effects to create the enchanted ceiling, which is the sky outside. There are also paintings on the wall that are made to look old, although they are hard to see in the movie.
I’m going to fast forward. You probably didn’t want to hear that we took a step. And another step. And so on. Now we are looking at sets that include chairs, tables, potions, and so on. There is a potions classroom, Harry’s dormitory, Harry’s original bedroom under a staircase, the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut, the Weasley’s burrow, etc. Our audio guide gives us information about everything we see, and it includes interviews and images relating to them. Fast forward to another room. There is a broom in front of a green screen. We sat on it (what else would we do?). We leaned from side to side on the broom which didn’t move at all. The computer made it seem like it moved. Riding a broom was easy. We made videos and had our pictures taken.
We did a lot more, as well. I am fast forwarding to artists’ sketches and Diagon Alley. The stores were there. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was there, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and Ollivander’s wand shop. (I got a wand, but at the gift shop–not Ollivanders.) Then we saw sketches of magical creatures, like Doby, the house elf. After that, there was a complete model of the outside Hogwarts, complete with tiny lit lanterns on a small path outside. The roof even had super small tiles. This model was used to film the outside of Hogwarts.
I love Harry Potter! I have read five of the books, and I am looking forward to reading the rest. I also want to see all the movies. I am glad Warner Bros. kept the sets.
I love Harry Potter too (so does Uncle Caleb)! I cannot wait until the Moyer boys (your cousins) are old enough to read them – so I get to re-read them all over again.
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