A trip to London, pt 2


Day 2 dawned and it was with much anticipation that we took the tube to Victoria station to connect with our bus to Warner Brothers Studios. Managing to score three seats in the top level we settled in and headed off with Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone playing on the bus video as we trundled along.
An hour later we arrived and after a quick lecture about timings etc, we made our way inside and joined the queue. I love queuing. From the queue and into the waiting area, which is like queuing but in a gaggle. Upon entering it became apparent that marketing was going to be the word of the day. On all four walls, giant electronic posters advertising all 8 movies switched between various languages where we stood waiting until an “apologetic” staff member arrived to give us a little briefing prior to entering. The doors opened and in we went – into a movie theatre. Hmmm. Here we were treated to a promo piece starring the three actors who played the main characters where they explained what life was like on set and that kind of thing. Then, the screen rolled up and the doors to the great hall were revealed and finally, we were invited to go in, for real this time. So we did.
Inside was the actual set of the great hall, which as it turns out is smaller than it looks on screen. On display were various uniforms and other props from the movies. It was all pretty cool really. From there we moved out into the main display area and were treated to more sets and props from all of the movies. I won’t go into all the details, but everything was genuine and quite interesting. There was Hagrid’s cabin, the Gryffindor Common Room, the Burrow and heaps of other stuff. We spent ages wandering around, examining the displays before making our way to the conveniently located cafeteria for a butter beer. As it happens, butter beer is just ginger beer with caramel foam on top, yummy. Outside we found the Knightbus, complete with chandeliers, number four Privet Drive, the Potters cottage, one of the Ford Anglia’s used in the second film, and part of the wooden bridge from Hogwarts.
The final section dealt with a lot of the technical aspects of the film with regard to conceptual drawings, making of props, special effects, models etc. They also had the section of Diagon Alley where Olivander’s and Weezley’s Wizzard Wheezes were located. The tour ended predictably at the gift shop which was a larger version of the shop we visited the day before, with prices just as outrageous. To top it all off, we waited for the bus in the also conveniently located Starbucks finishing the day with the second worst cup of coffee I’ve ever had.
Despite the obvious money grubbing nature of the place, we did enjoy our day, especially CA. It was good to see the sets and props especially considering CA and I have just finished reading the whole series of books and the first six movies. Combined with finding some of the filming locations around London, it all proved to be a pretty positive experience.


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