And now for something completely different

Floss here, today and for the next few days whilst Mum is away. Sorry to disappoint, but today’s post will not be featuring any ponies, but will focus instead on my day at the Leavesden Studios in Watford. For those who actually have a life, Leavesden is home to… IMG_0594 Luckily for us (I was accompanied by my best friend, Naomi) we had arrived pretty early, and so had time to peruse the enormous shop beforehand. Needless to say, we took the opportunity to try on everything.

IMG_0619

After picking out a few items each to come back for later, we got into line for our tour. We ended up queuing for ages, but there was something conveniently placed nearby to occupy our interest.

IMG_0625

Eventually we got through the door and into a small room where we were treated to a video about the Harry Potter series. Then, onto another cinema-esque room where we were shown another film about the series, which ended with the clip of the first years entering the Great Hall. Afterwards, the screen was retracted to reveal the doors to the Great Hall, where the guides asked the various members of the tour with birthdays on that day (no, I wasn’t jealous, not at all) to open the doors and lead the way inside.

IMG_0633

For someone who has seen the films more times than is probably healthy, there are so many details I’ve missed out on. Now however, I can’t but help look out for them in the films.

IMG_0669

From here, we moved on to an enormous room containing hundred of sets, costumes and props.

IMG_0695IMG_0709

IMG_0799

The smaller props on display also include: the horcruxes, a pair of Omnioculars, the Philosopher’s Stone, Neville’s Remembrall, Hermione’s Timeturner, Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill, the Triwizard Cup and the Goblet of Fire. There are portraits (usually crew members in robes) and tapestries everywhere, and sets everywhere. I could bore you even more with hundreds of photos of every single set and prop but I am trying not to lose Mum too many readers.

IMG_0760

Once we finished looking around the area, the tour moves on to an outside area where muggles may have a refreshing glass of Butterbeer, guarded by a familiar face.

IMG_0859

The Knight Bus

IMG_0866

and the Hogwarts Bridge – which I never realised was so wonky until then. IMG_0868

Back inside we found ourselves in the Creature Workshop, with models of everything from the Acromantula Aragog…

IMG_0921

…to something that I cannot even think of a name for (it moves when you press a button, and is actually very creepy)

IMG_0912

The models are scarily realistic. I’d always assumed everything was composed of CGI, but they made models of nearly everything.

IMG_0907

IMG_0914

After the Creature Workshop and going through rooms with several sketches and scale models of buildings and sets, we entered Diagon Alley…

IMG_0935

The tour ends with a walk around the enormous scale model of Hogwarts, used for the aerial shots in the films. The castle has been altered over the years, but it looks excellent. We spent a lot of time trying to guess the various towers and rooms, looking for common rooms, classrooms and Dumbledore’s office.

IMG_0972

After a room lined with thousands of wand boxes, labeled with names of every single cast member, we found ourselves back in the shop. We then picked up the items we wanted, (on my part, a shirt, chocolate frog and Fleur Delacour’s wand) paid and departed, plotting ways in which we could sneak back inside.

I really would recommend going if you even slightly enjoyed the films. There is so much to see and do that I’ve had to miss out, and it was an amazing experience for the die-hard fans, such as Naomi and I.

Once again, sorry that you’re stuck with me for the next couple of days. I’ll have a go at recording tomorrow and might even bring some ponies into it. Bye for now!

5 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. Chris

    Hi Floss, I loved your ‘blog’ about HP. It’s a place I would love to visit. I don’t usually comment on your Mum’s blog, but felt I had to this time.

    Reply
  2. Kim

    Grand post. I’m jealous. What details should we look for? You must tell. Hubby and I are starting a Harry Potter marathon tomorrow night. We’ll mix in a few “New Tricks” episodes to lighten the mood. Well done, Floss.

    Reply
    1. Frances Post author

      The first thing I’d say would be to look for the paintings of house crests on the front and back walls of the Great Hall. They’ve been faded to make the castle look old, but I can now see them when I watch the films.

      Also, when you see the scenes of the Room of Requirement in 6 and 7, where they have all that junk cluttered around the room, those are mostly props and furniture from the previous films. They bought some extras, but if you look closely, there’s several recognisable pieces (for example, the gramophone used when teaching the students to dance, or a bottle of Skele-Gro).

      On a similar note, the objects in Dumbledore’s glass cabinets all seem to be the same two or three shapes, just in different sizes. I would also look closer at the various paintings, books, posters, leaflets and background props in scenes, as these show lots of detail. The books found in the library are apparently just phone books wrapped in fake leather. A lot of the subjects of the paintings, as I said in the post, are crew members, including producers, writers and even directors I think.

      There have been some more publicised details and mistakes, such as Emma muttering Daniel and Rupert’s lines as they speak them at various points in the first film, or the camera man briefly visible during the dueling club scene.

      Have fun with your marathon! I’m jealous, although I shouldn’t be because I had a marathon a couple of weeks ago, but still! And thank you for reading!

      Reply
  3. Helen

    A fab post!

    My children were just at the right age when the Harry Potter books came out an were literally raised on them!

    I read them all out loud several times and we all have lovely memories.

    Looking forward to your next story.

    Reply
  4. John Davies

    That was wonderful; I had no reason to think that this wasn’t done on a backlot in Hollywood! I’ll have to share with some cousins who are real Harry Potter fans and could tell me, and have, about every deviation between the books and movies!

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Kim Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *