The second part of my shared experience at the Harry Potter Studio Tour starts at Hagrid's Hut. Fang and a to-scale Hagrid were practically engulfed by the their surroundings, despite their size. Identifying everything in there individually was impossible, but it was good fun trying. Peaking through the window allowed another perspective, the same perspective Harry & Hermoine had in 'Prisoner of Azkaban'.
The Weasley's Burrow was as warm and inviting as depicted in the books through Harry's eyes. It's a proper home, cosy and comfortable, though a photographers nightmare. Not a single angle in the entire set is 90 degrees, it was built to look as though Arthur had constructed it himself. I was particularly fascinated with the clock, which always seemed like one of the most heart warming magical contraptions J.K Rowling ever dreamt up. Knowing where everyone in the family is at any one time, what mother wouldn't want that?
The Magic Is Might Statue is oppressive even in such a large space, but then it was designed to be. It punctuates the beginning of a cluster of Ministry of Magic sets. The sculpture, which depicts 'muggles' being crushed under the weight of the wizarding community reminds me of similar creations that were made to reflect the slave trade. The detail is impressive, as is the scale. Standing in front of it and seeing the faces contorted in agony genuinely made me feel uncomfortable, an depth of emotion I wasn't expecting to feel on the tour.
The office of Dolores Umbridge sparked the most out loud opinions I heard all day from fellow tourists. From the: 'Oh wow', to the: 'That's the ugliest room I've ever seen', it certainly got your attention. It's shiny and ostentatious, in your face and vulgar. But whether you like it or not, you have to admire the craftsmanship. The kittens on the plates were all real homeless animals and were adopted out to new families afterwards, which made them slightly more bearable to look at.
Walking down Diagon Alley was one of the parts of the tour I was excitedly anticipating the most. What self respecting Harry Potter fan wouldn't, right? It's practically legendary. Although clearly bright and colourful in the earlier films and ominously dark in the last, some of the exceptional and intricate detail is entirely lost on screen. The signs on the windows, the products on display, the way the shops manage to look like they've been well used to loving patronage for centuries, despite the fact they were built for purpose in the films. This is an area I could have spent the most time in, you just get lost and engrossed as you move from shop to shop, it's also a spot I can't wait to revisit next year.
The last stop on this part of my tour of the tour is the conceptual design room. The technical drawings are stunning, the step by step genius on how to bring fantasy into reality. It was here that my battery started to wane, so unfortunately I didn't get to capture how incredible this space was. Just trying to imagine where you begin to delve into the semantics of creating the mechanics and the architecture is mind boggling. You could sit in this room for hours, reading the notes on the drawings and dissecting them.
More soon ...