“A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.” – JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
To the undiscerning eye, this photograph looks like any other outfit post, outside any other house… but in true keeping with the essence of the magical world that JK Rowling has created, you have to be in on the secret to know that I am in fact standing outside number 4 Privet Drive; home to the infamous Dursley family, and temporary residence of Mr Harry Potter! No biggie.
Infact, this was kind of a biggie. Having spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years falling in love with the books, films, and of course, the characters, being able to spend a day looking around the sets at the Warner Bros Studio Tour really was a dream come true! I’m aware of how cheesy that sounds by the way, but I think the fellow HP fans out there, at least, will let me off because they probably share the same sentiment!
You might remember the exquisite centrepiece above from the Yule Ball scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – it really does go to show the incredible amount of work that goes into creating set pieces that may only feature in the film for a few minutes or so! I was particularly impressed and excited buy the idea of one day having something similar in my house, for party and entertainment purposes… that’s if I ever get a house (or castle… ooh!) big enough to fit it in, of course!
Being able to look inside sets such as Hagrid’s Hut, the Gryffindor Common Room, and Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic Office, as well as being able to step onto the Knight Bus, and sit inside the flying car that Harry and Ron smuggled themselves into Hogwarts in, in their second year of Hogwarts was a real delight – and being able to take photographs with them made it that much more fun! Also, I found myself eyeing up some of the dresses in Luna Lovegood’s costume rail (that girl has great taste!) and am somewhat compelled to try to recreate a couple of the garments at home on my sewing machine, so I too, can pretend I’m going along to a Slug Club party!
Needless to say, the experience wouldn’t have been complete without trying some Butterbeer, which I found to be delicious! Carrie and Miguel didn’t quite agree with me on this, which meant that I got more than a taster, and ended up drinking their share as well, yummy! I’ll have my wizard robes in XXL please? Luckily, despite its name, Butterbeer is non-alcoholic – had it been otherwise the rest of the tour could’ve gone a little differently!
I don’t want to give too much away, because I know how excited I was about going… but one of my favourite parts of the tour was seeing the Hogwarts Castle 23:1 scale model! I actually found myself a little choked up, firstly because it was so beautiful, and secondly because Hogwarts has come to mean so much to so many of us! Also, with the addition of some lovely lighting and music from the films, it really added to the experience and definitely made me appreciate all of the hard work that has gone into turning the books into a kind-of reality for us to enjoy.
And even if you take nothing else away from it, I guarantee you will have a blast looking around the gift shop at the end! Nothing spells Potter fever quite like the uncontrollable urge to spend all of your money on frog shaped chocolates, light-up plastic broomsticks, and various Gryffindor memorabilia. Also, the fact that three 21 and 22 year olds could be jealous of children playing with their £25 a pop wands, was enough proof for me that we are well and truly in over our heads when it comes to our slightly-nerdy, borderline obsessive love for Harry Potter… but also, that we wouldn’t want it any other way, because our lives so far have been a lot more magical for it!