Sunday, February 24, 2013

10 years of Love for Harry Potter

I remember being skeptical at first when my aunt recommended me to read about Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone a decade ago. All I knew about Harry Potter that time was that there's this young boy who lived in a small storeroom under the staircase and later discovered his magical abilities.

To be honest, I was more of a movie fan initially. This is because the day I fell in love with this brilliant imaginary wizarding world was the day I first watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone. It was one of the longest movie that I had ever watched at that age and believe it or not, I was truly absorbed into the story.

Piqued by curiosity and some igniting sparks of interest, I began reading the books one after another. Then I discovered more fun reading the detailed version and that, marked the beginning of my addiction/obsession for Harry Potter ever since.

I knew about the Leavesden Studio of Harry Potter even before coming to England. It was just opened to public last year and this had been on my list of things-to-do.

After buying tickets online for me and my group of KTJ friends (who were all also dieheart fans of Harry Potter), the next thing we knew was that we were already riding on the special shuttle bus from Watford Junction to the Warner Bros. Studio.


Collected our tickets at the counter and look, how cool the tickets were! We were 'fighting' over our most preferred creature, with Dobby being the most demanded one. Oh well I got Fawkes :)


The Great Hall. As soon as the doors were opened, we walk through it like how the first year students would do. Hogwarts Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts... \(≧▽≦)/ Such a magnificent set!

All the professors. Fyi I love Professor Mc Gonagall the most because I used to think that I must have belonged to Gryffindor house and since she's the Head of yea ;) But then after Pottermore was launched, I eventually found out the truth that I am actually in Ravenclaw! Apparently Ravenclaw is the house where all the smart and studious people go to.  (Lololol see, they say I am smart okay?) ╰( ̄▽ ̄)╭  Which is why Hermione is often said to be somehow sorted into the wrong house.

Oh by the way those were the actual outfits the actors/actress wore for filming Harry Potter,

Student uniforms of different houses. Spot Cedric Diggory's house tee! Haha I used to fall for Robert Pattinson when he acted in The Goblet of Fire...until he started starring Edward in Twilight. Not cool anymore.

 Yule ball!! One of my favourite chapters ♥ (and scenes).

Wigs on display.  Haha Snape's hairstyle! love it (*꒪ั0꒪ั*)

Deng deng deng! The boys' dormitory where Harry, Ron, Neville, Seamus and Dean stayed during their years at Hogwarts. Ah, this is sooo cool. I want to stay in a castle tower like them. With four poster beds..Imagine all the fun!

Mirror of Erised, philosopher's stone, Moaning Myrtle, Chamber of secrets' Snake door.


Invisible cloak, Clock tower pendulum (that still swings in the studio!), Time turner, Triwizard Cup and the Golden egg.


The grand staircase, The Fat Lady portrait, Gryffindor Common Room.

Gargoyle staircase with the password "Sherbet lemon", which leads to Dumbledore's office!
Seriously, I was astounded by how detailed the set was built! It looks SO real. Oh spot the sorting hat :)

The dungeon: where potion classes with Snape are being held. This used to be my favourite place of all in Hogwarts when I played the Harry Potter action game in Play Station.

See the blurred stirrer in the cauldron in the 2nd pic? It kept stirring automatically! :D (by a spell. heh)

Hagrid's hut and the Burrow. Absolutely loveee Mrs Weasley's self-washing frying pan. I NEED TO LEARN THIS SPELL.

Here comes all the bad people. Dolores Umbridge -.-
Love her office though.

And also the Ministry of Magic's fireplace for the floo network.

Dark Arts section: Lord Voldemort and the death eaters. I admire Tom Felton for playing Draco, he's one of the best actors in Harry Potter movies.

World's most famous address: Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Winging, SURREY.
Yes Harry and the Dursleys live in Surrey!

There was once when my friends and I accidentally walked past some residential area in Surrey and I realised that the structure and architecture of those houses look exactly the same as the Dursley's.

The magical creatures! Aragog, Basilisk and Buckbeak!
Dementor is not counted as an animal. Duh. and up till today I am very scared of them, even just by looking at it. Too much imagination.

Hedwig, Fawkes, the goblins at Gringotts and of course, Dobby!
Poor Dobby. I cried when he died okay :'(

Monster book of Monsters, inflated Aunt Marge, annnnnnnd..the magical Chest Piece in the first book!!!! *gasp*


Sirius Black's motorbike (that he gave to Hagrid), Knight Bus!! Hogwarts bridge and the tomb of Voldemort's muggle father.

Ok enough of the dark side of Harry Potter...*snaps*

Diagon Alley!!!! Love it love it love it. Everything's so real! And they have all the familiar shops there!! :)) Ollivanders, Flourish and Blotts, Eeylops Owl Emporium, Magical Menagerie, Quality Quiddith Supplies etc........ :DDDD You can imagine me kept on mumbling 'omg omg' and staring into the windows of each shop.

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes! haha puking pastilles useful for people who wish to skip class. LOL I wouldn't want to puke!

And Can you spot the Nimbus 2000?! Awesome right I know *wipes tears*

Best part of the studio tour. I really love looking at models and miniatures. Back in high school I had always enjoyed making these (not as pro as these of course) and I took Visual Arts for my SPM because I saw the seniors one year before us did house models as their coursework. Unfortunately, when it was my year taking, NONE of the coursework's questions involve model buidling. MEH. I had to design a T shirt for a diving society instead.*not cool* But oh well less work in comparison.

Gosh Hogsmede! and the 3 broomsticks.


and then...*drum rolls*


MARVELOUS ART PIECE so much imagination you can have by looking at it!

This is the model used to shoot the films, just that they edited it by adding professional computer effects which turned the end product into a friggin realistic scene as shown in the movies.

Last exhibit before coming out of the studio: inside of Ollivander's wand shop.
It wasn't that big/real actually so I don't find much amusement to be honest.

One interesting fact to note is that there are names of all casts and crews involved in the Harry Potter series all over the wand boxes there.  I found Emma Watson's and Daniel Radcliffe's!

And then that concludes the experience of the studio tour! Kinda short actually, I expected a lot more.

In the souvenir shop, there's a section specially decorated like Honeydukes, the popular candy shop in Hogsmede. This is where you can find all sorts of treats featured in Harry Potter!

The famous Chocolate Frog, Peppermint Toads, Blood pops and *drum rolls* Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans!!!

According to the book, besides ordinary flavours like chocolate, peppermint, and marmalade, there are also other flavours which you wouldn't have expected. Literally 'every flavour', which means you might end up with flavours like vomit, earwax, bogeys, paper, liver, and tripe.

Of course in real life the every flavour beans wouldnt taste like that I think. Anyway, I didn't buy any of them because they were too expensive! like 6-8 pounds for one? -.-
Again, it's not like I would want to eat a big chunk of frog shaped chocolate which doesn't hop around like in the book/movie.

Honeydukes ♥ Quite small though.

Gringotts' coin collection, the elder wand, Deathly Hallows T shirts and the Triwizard Cup that lights up!! If I were a mother, I would buy one for my children if they really like it (because the mother likes it too haha)

Gryffindor section, Harry Potter Glasses and the Golden Snitch.

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good", "mischief managed".... Omg the Marauder's map! I actually uttered these lines when I hold the map you know.

Assorted keychains, badges, magnets, handphone straps etc.
Was tempted to buy the Ravenclaw one initially. And also the chocolate frog keychain which has a chocolate scent. After some rational considerations though, I finally decided not to buy any. Keychains are one of the most useless things  (it was once my hobby of collecting keychains though. ironically lol.)

So I ended up not buying ANYTHING at all. Should have bought a Ravenclaw scarf... Come to think of it I can actually use it during cold seasons!  :( *regrets*

Alas, I did have something to bring home!


Awesome right? It was actually a broom ride (sort of) where you sit on it, almost like the ones you need coins for it to move and where you can find in shopping malls/fun fairs. Then behind you and the broom (machine) is the green screen and they film you and take pictures of you. You remain stationary but in the video you get different backgrounds. Argh I suck at describing. Anyway that's roughly how they film all the flying scenes in Harry Potter.

I paid £6 for this! I reckon it's worth the money after all :) Memories.

The only sad thing is that they gave me the yellow Hufflepuff robe instead of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. I should have asked them to change for me. Why did I remain silence and not demand for it?

Either way it was an awesome experience on the whole. I truly enjoyed it but to be frank, there was a little bit of disappointment underneath my heart. Before I found out about this studio, I used to check out the website for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando and man, it seemed really fantastic where you actually go into the 'world'.

The problem with this is, it's literally a studio, not a themepark. I guess I did not set my mindset right before I entered the studio? That's why I got a bit of the 'meh, only this?" kind of feeling.

Not saying that it isn't great, but really, considering the price of the entrance ticket plus once in a lifetime experience is already enough, I wouldn't go back again actually if I were to be given a choice. However, if my sisters visit me here one day I will definitely go with them again. I just won't get bored of Harry Potter.