Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Harry Potter Studios

Like so many people in the world, I am a massive Harry Potter fan. I began reading the books in my early teens and made sure I mastered Braille in time for the release of the final book after my sight deteriorated for the worst. I remember it took me about three months to read that final book and avoiding spoilers was a tough task, but somehow I managed it. I have also seen all of the films, the first couple I had some vision to appreciate the special effects and picture for real my favourite books come to life. So, when I heard about Warner Bros offering fans an opportunity to visit the Harry Potter Studios in Watford, I made sure I booked my tickets the day they went on sale!

My family and I went to the studios on my 24th birthday (on 20th July, argh I’m getting old). As we went into the entrance, there were hand imprints from the three main stars, Daniele, Emma and Rupert. I pretty much have the exact same hand size as Emma. This tactile introduction seemed promising for the rest of the tour.

We were ushered into a holding room where there were lots of posters from the films around the world and a short video from the film makers. We were then moved into a cinema area to watch another short film about the studios. Finally, you then get to go into the Great Hall and to my disappointment, the props were behind barriers. This is where my stretch Armstrong skills began, as I reached to touch the goblets and seating area. I knew it was going to be a long day!

It is really quite astonishing how many props and sets there were under a single roof, I only wish I had the opportunity to check them all out for myself instead of hearing about what I knew already existed. I thought riding a broomstick would be a nice interactive challenge, but in fact a lot of acting is required to make the experience worth its while! Halfway around you get to go outside and I was eager to taste butter beer. It was nothing how I expected it to be, but I did quite enjoy the taste unlike most who seemed to have a sip and leave it! Outside was better for me in general, as I climbed upon Tom Riddles grave stone (I don’t think you’re supposed to health and safety and all that), sat in the Weasley’s car, touched the giant chess pieces, climbed aboard the Knight bus, sat on the Potter’s wall and Calvin had a busy on Privet Drive (we were only supposed to be taking a photo by the sign)!

Back indoors feeling a bit more cheery and stretching once more to feel the goblin masks, one of the staff members finally took pity and let me go beyond the barriers. So I had a better opportunity to feel the goblin masks, spent far too long examining Robert Patterson’s life cast (he has a very appealing face to the touch and I’m sure to the eye) and felt some of Griphook’s costume.

Next we walked up Diagon Alley; the cobbles reminded me of Coronation Street, not that I’ve walked up there! Finally you get to the shop and I spent ages feeling each characters’ wand, which you could buy and they had showcased behind a glass cabinet in the tour. I would have liked to buy a souvenir, most likely the elder wand, only the prices were beyond silly. Poor parents were telling their kids perhaps they would like a postcard!

I’m glad I visited the studios even though 80% of it is visual. I should have known better.

You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be (Albus Dumbledore)

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