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1. “Fantastic Beasts” Wands Coming to Noble Collection!

Fantastic Beasts has been taking San Diego’s Comic Con (SDCC) by storm! Introducing a new trailer, hosting live Q&A with fansites (Leaky, too!) and panels, the Fantastic Beasts cast and crew has been revealing a lot of new movie magic. Also, keep an eye on the new Wizarding World snapchat for more inside looks at SDCC 2016.

One of the snaps on the new snapchat, and also added to Twitter, revealed Eddie Redmayne showcasing Newt Scamander’s wand for Noble Collection at SDCC 2016.

 

Noble Collection is one of the greatest distributers of official Harry Potter merchandise and movie replicas. Fans have been wishing and hoping for Fantastic Beasts movie merchandise, and that indeed will eventually be the case. Even better, it seems that Fantastic Beasts merchandise and movie replicas will be added to the Noble Collection!

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2. Take a Closer Look at the Set of Cursed Child!

Pottermore are going behind the scenes of Harry Potter in the Cursed Child in the coming weeks, to learn more about how the unique set design of the play was constructed.

Tony Award-winning set designer Christine Jones (Close to You, Spring Awakening and Let the Right One In)  introduces the Pottermore series by talking about bringing the set together in an exclusive video.

Pottermore reports:
‘I was overwhelmed,’ Christine told us. ‘I didn’t expect to get as emotional as I did. But I think we all have been working on this for over a year and just have so much invested in it.’

‘There’s just this feeling that we’re working with people we love, on something we love, for people we love. And there’s a lot of emotions that have become buried within the fabric on the making of this.’

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This video of the props and sets involved in the Cursed Child production is slow moving and close-up, showing the intricate craftsmanship behind the immaculate set.

Be sure to take a look at the short preview (below), as it makes one appreciate just how many people are needed to make such a beautiful play come to life!

Read more over at Pottermore here, and read more from Christine Jones on set design here!

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3. WB Studio Tour Celebrating 15th Anniversary of “Philosopher’s Stone”

2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. As hard as it is to believe so many years have passed since we all rushed to the theaters, as youngin’s, to see how our new favorite book series was going to be adapted to the big screen for the first time, the studio where the Harry Potter films were born are holding new events for this very special and sentimental occasion.

There are a number of exhibitions and displays coming to the WB Leavesden Studio Tour this year, for the celebration of this momentous anniversary. As the Hogwarts in the Snow exhibition comes to a close this January, a new exhibition, Welcome to Hogwarts, will be kicking of the anniversary celebrations from Thursday February 11-Monday February 22.

Welcome to Hogwarts gives visitors a chance to view iconic props that first appeared in  Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone that have never before been available for viewing. The props will be set up in the Great Hall, one of the first Harry Potter sets built 15 years ago. These props include the Sorting Hat sitting upon it’s stool, floating candles above the teachers’ table, and “secrets behind some of the first film’s most recognisable scenes will be revealed.”

Welcome to Hogwarts will be followed by a special exhibition on one of the most lovable characters in Harry Potter, who made his first appearance very early on in the first book. The Half-Giant Hagrid exhibit will be running from Friday March 25-Sunday April 17. The WB Studio Tour website details this event:

 

“During the Easter holidays you will learn how Hagrid, the half-giant who introduced Harry to the magical world of witches, wizards and, of course, Hogwarts, was brought to life on screen as some of the groundskeeper’s costumes and props are showcased as well as the techniques that madeHagrid appear so huge. In addition you’ll be able to see artists from Nick Dudman’s creative effects team working on Gringott’s Goblin prosthetics.”

 

The end of spring/beginning of summer, just in time for family’s to begin vacationing, will see a very special exhibition running from Friday May 27-Monday June 6. For the first time, and for a limited time only, fans at the WB Studio Tour will be able to step inside Number 4 Private Drive. WB describes this opportunity:

 

“For a limited time only we are offering you the chance to step inside Number Four, Privet Drive and peer into the Dursleys’ living room as the exterior set is opened especially for the Studio Tour’s anniversary celebrations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. During production, set decorators were tasked with filling the house with Dursely-ish pieces of furniture and props and had lots of fun sourcing the ugliest sofas, worst tiles and most vulgar curtains possible.”

 

As the summer draws to a close, and a new school term begins, fans have the opportunity to learn more about the adventures Harry, Ron, and Hermione experienced in their first year at school together. Finding the Philosopher’s Stone will run from Friday July 22-Monday September 5. During this exhibition fans will learn and experience how many important protective obstacles that gaurd the Philosopher’s Stone were made. WB reports:

 

“This summer, discover how giant chess pieces were made to move by filmmakers during the firstHarry Potter film, where Harry, Ron and Hermione embarked upon a quest to find and protect the Philosopher’s Stone. You’ll also find out how a three-headed dog (and its saliva) was brought to life and how the deadly Devil’s Snare was taken from page to screen!”

 

The celebrations come to a close during late fall, the season most Harry Potter films were released. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone first hit theaters on November 14, 2001. Leading up to the anniversary date, WB Studio Tour’s last celebration exhibit, Fifteenth Anniversary Celebrations, will be running from Saturday October 15- Friday November 4. These celebrations are detailed as such:

 

“Fifteen years after the UK premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, you will be able to admire authentic sets, props and costumes first created during production. The Great Hall will be dressed with a section of the Hallowe’en feast (complete with the costume of Professor Quirrell) and you’ll have the opportunity to discover more about other sets that have stood the test of time including the Gryffindor common room, boys’ dormitory and Hagrid’s hut.”

 

All of theses celebrations and special exhibits sound worthy of honoring such an important anniversary in the Harry Potter franchise. If you are planning a trip or would like more information about these events, please visit the WB Studio Tour website. What exhibition are you most excited, or would like to go see the most? What are your favorite memories of the first film? Where were you 15 years ago? Share with us your ideas on how to celebrate 15 years of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone.

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4. Pottermore’s Talks Wands with Molly Sole: Harry Potter Wand Designer

Pottermore had the opportunity to sit and talk with Molly Sole, the woman who has designed all of the character wands for the Fantastic Beasts films. Ms. Sole talked of how the wand designs came to be, how they were made to reflect the character they belonged to (the wand chooses the wizard, remember), and the actors’ tastes and influences that were applied to their own wands.

Pictures were not included in the article, of course, as the article ends more will be revealed, “all in good time.” However, the descriptions of the wands and how they were conceived is more than enough to bring some images to mind.

Pottermore reports:

‘I know from the Harry books that the wizard has to have an affinity with the wand. It picks them,’ she says. ‘It’s a bit like people and their dogs. I feel like you can see traces of the wand in the wizard and the wizard in the wand. So we had to imagine the feel and the material of the wand as a good partnership with the character.’

‘This one has to be for Newt,’ I say, pointing to a modest wooden wand.

‘We wanted it to relate somehow to the animal kingdom,’ she tells me, ‘but we thought it was sort-of inappropriate to give him anything that might have a trophy feel to it. We didn’t think he would be into that at all. The main part of this one is wood.

‘Is this one Queenie’s?’ I ask, jabbing the table with my finger like I’m a contestant on some sort of impromptu ‘Guess the Wand’ game show. ‘That’s got to be the closest thing to a sexy wand I’ve ever seen. It can only belong to Queenie.’

‘That’s Queenie’s, yes,’ Molly says. ‘[Alison Sudol] did have a little bit of influence on hers because she really likes Art Deco. We put her taste in that and it really helped us get the time period, the era, into the design.

‘Whereas Tina’s wand is more functional, more understated. David [Yates] didn’t want it to be too jazzy because that wouldn’t suit Tina. We used an antique conductor’s wand for the basis of Graves’s wand.’

 

 

To read more about this magical meeting, fly on over to Pottermore.

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5. Rare Prisoner of Azkaban Poster to be Auctioned in Watford

Excalibur Auctions will be selling off a Sirius Black ‘wanted’ style poster from the promotion of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film in just a few days time.

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The promotional poster is one of less than ten of this kind known to be produced for the film, leading Excalibur Auctions to call this ‘one of the rarest posters ever produced to publicise the films’.

It is particularly unique due to its lenticular design, meaning that the images changes depending on which angle you view it from. Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) is in the shot if you view the poster from head on, and he disappears if you angle the poster slightly differently. Clearly this format was much more expensive to produce, leading to the remaining posters being coveted!

The poster is predicted to sell for £4,000-£6,000, and the auction will take place at The Village Hotel in Elstree, Watford on Saturday 28th May 2016 at 10:30am. Live bidding will occur in the room, with internet bidding available at The Sale Room and Invaluable.

The auction will also feature a Star Wars Episode II Yoda lenticular poster, a 1920s Sherlock Holmes window card and many James Bond themed items (including original Quad posters from Dr No and From Russia With Love.

More information can be found on the Excalibur Auctions website, here.

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6. New “Finding the Philosopher’s Stone” Exhibit at Warner Bros. Studio Tour

It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since the first Harry Potter film lit up our movie screens, but the minds behind the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London certainly haven’t forgotten. Since the beginning of the year, Warner Bros. has been delighting fans with a variety of exhibitions celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the most recent addition is aptly titled “Finding the Philosopher’s Stone”.

 

The new exhibit will feature life-size Wizard’s Chess pieces, troll snot, unicorn blood, a moving display of the Devil’s Snare, and–naturally–several iterations of the Philosopher’s Stone. Prop makers will also be in attendance to give fans an inside look at the prop-making process.

 

“Finding the Philosopher’s Stone” will run from July 22 through September 5. Tickets to the exhibition cannot be purchased while on the tour, so be sure to book in advance.

 

In addition, the highly popular interior tour of 4 Privet Drive has been extended through September 5.

 

Thanks to Mugglenet for the heads-up!

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7. Warner Bros. Announces Exclusive Features in Harry Potter Wizard's Collection; Video of Cast Exploring the Boxset

In celebration of a certain wizard's birthday today, Warner Brothers have released the list of exclusive features and memorabilia that will be included in the eight film, 31-disc Harry Potter Wizard's Collection, due in stores on September 10, 2012. Harry Potter Wizard's Collection contains more than 37 hours of special features, including all previously released special features from the eight Harry Potter films and nearly four hours of never-before-seen bonus features.

The complete list is as follow:

Films Included in this Collection – All on Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2D and 3D Versions
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2D and 3D Versions
Blu-ray Special Features for Hours of Entertainment – Includes all previously released Special Features

  • Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection Bonus Disc: Nearly 4 hours of features including:
    • All New! “The Harry Potters You Never Met” - Meet the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they demonstrate how they balanced major stunt work with seamlessly mimicking the actors they represented and share their favorite moments.
    • All New! “Designing the World of Harry Potter” - Explore how production designer Stuart Craig and his creative team brought J.K. Rowling's imagination to life on the screen.
    • All New! “When Harry Left Hogwarts” (Extended Version) - Hear candid and emotional stories about the final days on set in this extended behind-the-scenes look.
    • All New! “50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments” (Definitive Version) - Take a look back with cast members who share their on and off-screen memories.
    • All New! “Secrets Revealed! Quidditch” – At last, the secrets behind the special effects required for the breathtaking Quidditch scenes are revealed!
    • All New! “Secrets Revealed! Hagrid”- See the camera tricks, towering stand-in and voluminous body suits behind the beloved Keeper of  Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Bonus Disc: Over 2 hours of features including:
    • All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part. 7: Story"
    • Plus all previously released special features!0
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Bonus Disc: Over 4 hours of features including:
    • All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part. 8: Growing Up”
    • All New! “A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe: Extended Version” - with 15 minutes of new footage
    • “Hogwarts’ Last Stand” (Extended Version)
    • Plus all previously released special features!
·  Exclusive Premiums
  •  Memorabilia designed exclusively for the collection by the graphic designers from the films
  • Label Collection –  A collection of prop labels created by the production for potions, wizarding products and more
  • Harry Potter Catalogue of Artefacts – 48-page rigid book featuring the favorite props of the film’s graphic d

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8. Unveiling of expansion to Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour

SnitchSeeker recently made an early visit to the brand new exhibit (opened July 16th) at the Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour – Stage 48: Script to Screen.

This is a $13 million addition to the tour, which takes about two hours to complete, moving from set to set on the archetypal navigator of the Hollywood film industry: a golf cart. Giving guests a deep and interactive look into the film-making process, the Stage 48 exhibit shows the different stages involved in production, casting, costume design and script writing through a variety of interactive stations. Key moments of the tour are given by Deadline:

‘Highlights include the Central Perk coffeehouse from Friends and a green-screen setup that let guests fly on Harry Potter’s broomstick. Other enhancements include recorded messages from the stars of 2 Broke GirlsPretty Little Liars, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. There’s also newly assembled video montages of scenes from productions filmed on the Warner Bros backlot.’

Of course, SnitchSeeker‘s main concern on their visit was to explore the Potter sections! Much alike the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter in Leavesden, Stage 48’s special effects area features green screen booths where visitors can ride a broomstick. SnitchSeeker writes:

‘Guests don a Hogwarts robe and are seated on a broomstick. Then they’re able to watch themselves – via a monitor – as they fly through various parts of London and the English countryside on their way to Hogwarts Castle. Souvenir photos of the experience are available for purchase.’

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This interactive experience also allows you to place yourself within film scenes from The Dark Knight and Gravity.

Other stations explored by SnitchSeeker involve a motion capture station, featuring Dobby the House Elf, who copies your actions on a screen. This is reportedly much alike the ‘moving skeleton’ spell involving the interactive wands in Knockturn Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

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Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe’s audition tapes are also included in the casting section, and Mr Weasley’s enchanted Ford Anglia is ‘flying’ (or hanging from the ceiling) in the sound stage. SnitchSeeker also writes that there is a video by set designer for the Potter films, Stuart Craig.

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Last but not least, SnitchSeeker explored the gift shop for the Hollywood tour, selling loads of Harry Potter merchandise. They say:

‘We spotted some new Potter goodies there, including Pigwidgeon plushes, Gryffindor Quidditch duffle bags and light up Swords of Gryffindor.’

You can read more, see more photos of the exhibit, and watch videos of the interactive stations in SnitchSeeker’s article here, and take a look at their  photo gallery including loads more photos here.

Thanks to SnitchSeeker for such an in-depth look inside the new Stage 48: Script to Screen!

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9. Harry Potter Memorabilia In Auction

This week, someone will own a piece of Harry Potter film history.  Prop Store, a source for movie collectibles, will be holding its world-wide live auction on Wednesday, September 23rd.  In August, Entertainment Weekly reported on the upcoming sale, and now, Moviefone and others have articles about it.  Nearly 500 items related to film production, including props and costumes for numerous franchises and cult classics, will be sold.  Three auction lots in the catalog this year are from the Harry Potter films.

The first item, #178, is a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie poster signed by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.  The auction catalog says, “This poster was acquired directly from a crew member who worked on location with the key cast members on the film.”

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The second item, #179, is a Hogwarts acceptance envelope with its wax seal (that may or may not have a letter inside).  It is one of the many envelopes in the scene where a tornado of owls and post swirls through the Dursley’s house.

Made from marbled-effect paper, Harry’s address is printed in green on the front of the envelope with the Hogwarts crest printed on the reverse. This hero envelope features an actual red wax Hogwarts seal rather than the many printed envelopes that were also used in the scene. The envelope remains sealed with paper seemingly contained within,” says the auction catalog.

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The third lot, #180, is two scarves given to crew members on the sets of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  They are both in Gryffindor house colors and have embroidered logos from the respective films.  The Goblet of Fire scarf is in a color-block similar to Harry’s Triwizard Tournament uniform.

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Wednesday’s auction will include a live webcast, and bids will be accepted in person, online, and by phone.  Will someone finally get a Hogwarts acceptance letter?

To see the full catalog of items for sale, see here.

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10. EXCLUSIVE: ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ Returns to Warner Bros Studio Tour!

Today (12th November), The Leaky Cauldron was lucky enough to be invited along to the very special (and exclusive) opening event for the annual Hogwarts in the Snow feature at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter.

So many brilliant additions were made to the tour to make it as festive as possible, and these extra details, on top of the already amazing sets and props, made the night so much more magical.

Not only that, but the excitement of Fantastic Beasts being filmed just across the river is a comforting promise that the films aren’t over yet!

Various VIP guests attended the event, including Tom Fletcher (Mcfly), Nadiya Hussain (The Great British Bake-Off), Rod Stewart and Dynamo.

This feature is absolutely not to be missed, and if our word isn’t enough, we’re bringing you photos from the event to prove it!

As you arrive at the tour, you are greeted by the amazing Harry Potter soundtrack (giving you goosebumps before you’ve even picked up your tickets!), and Mr Weasley’s trusty old flying Ford Anglia.

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This is also where the Hogwarts in the Snow experience begins. In the centre of the foyer, surrounded the photos of the cast, is a huge snow-dusted Christmas tree:

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You are then taken through to the studio’s cinema, where you are reminded by Dan Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint about the magic of Harry Potter, the global phenomenon it has become, and the family created over the long years the cast and crew spent growing up on set. It’s enough to make anybody teary-eyed!

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Then it’s time to enter the Great Hall. Wreaths are hung upon the beautiful doors, and statues surround the walls, giving a mere inkling of the level of detail you are to expect from the rest of the tour.

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The authentic costumes of the Hogwarts Professors greet you at the back of the hall (a luminescent Dumbledore instantly catches your eye), and the Hogwarts house uniforms surround the walls. The stone floor below your feet at this point is the original stone used in the process of filming Harry Potter!

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The Christmas trees surrounding The Great Hall, and the authentic-looking artificial festive food laid out on the huge tables, are an excellent addition to an already breathtaking set. What is best about the newer props added for this feature is the level of detail put in to make the Hall feel as homely as possible. As soon as you start to look around the room, you can appreciate exactly why the films give you that lovely nostalgic feeling of going home. The level of work put into each and every prop and costume to create the perfect atmosphere is absolutely amazing.

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From tree-toppers:

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To flaming Christmas Puddings (effects like these are produced by gas pipes running under tables and along the floor):

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To Christmas cakes and House-themed Christmas crackers and gift boxes:

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This room has it all and so much more, so make sure to stick around a while to take it all in!

Next it’s on to Production. My favourite part of this is Hair and Makeup, which giving you a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of the actors’ appearances:

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I love how the desks are laid out with wigs, latex, glue, lists, a box of ‘teeth’ and a profile photo of Bonnie Wright – just like the set is still being used. The way sets, props and departments are arranged along the tour is another of the reasons why it never fails to excite – the process of filming is so easy to imagine when you’ve got what it took right in front of you!

 

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This drinks centre-piece from the Yule Ball is another of my favourites. It looks so magical and festive!

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Another great feature is the Goblet of Fire, just past the gates to Hogwarts. The goblet sets alight and can be opened out or shut back up again. It’s mind-boggling to see the talent that goes into making some of the more technical props, and the level of detail and engineering in props like this amazes me.

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Other notable features in this area include the Fat Lady’s portrait, the Mirror of Erised (which you can take a photo in) and Hogwarts’ giant pendulum. The scale of these features is astounding, drawing attention to the care taken to achieve realistic effects.

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The Gryffindor Male Dorm Room is fully decorated, and adorned with tinsel to add to the Christmas vibe, as well as the Gryffindor Common Room looking even more festive than usual:

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thumb_DSCF4051_1024The tapestries and murals on the walls at the tour are another of the special additions to give visitors an idea of the level of detail in the film-making process. A personal favourite of mine is the Chamber of Secrets mural outside the toilets next to the Visual Effects section. It was hand painted by Andrew Williamson over the course of nine days this year (29 June – 7 July 2015):

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A few other highlights from around the set section include Making Snow and Fire tutorials:

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Dumbledore’s Office:

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The door to the Chamber of Secrets:

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And the kitchen at The Burrow:

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Then it’s on to the Visual Effects section, where you can test your skills with a wand, look at how flying effects were produced, and even have a go at flying a broom (in the snow) and the Ford Anglia yourself!

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After this, it’s time to visit the tour’s newest attraction: The Hogwarts Express!

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Considering most visitors probably will have come from London train stations to get to the tour, the replica Platform 9 and 3/4 within Kings-Cross station bears striking resemblance to the (almost) real thing.

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There is also a Railway Shop on site, and the option to have a photo inside interactive carriages of the Hogwarts Express.

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Again, the arrangement of the set to look as realistic as possible is stunning. The sweets left on seats, the costumed mannequins and trolley of sweets gives you the feeling you’re really on the Hogwarts Express (which you are!).

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I particularly liked the inverted R + L heart from Lavender Brown in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princethumb_DSCF4097_1024

 

Round the corner are the costumes of Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron in the ‘Nineteen-Years-Later’ scene on Platform 9 and 3/4, and a Graphic Design display:

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Outside in the backlot, you have the option of purchasing Butterbeer from one of only three places in the world that sell the real deal. It’s delicious, and you can also now purchase it in ice-cream form! (I’d go with both).

The Knight Bus greets you, along with other sets such as the Hogwarts Bridge, 4 Privet Drive and the Potters’ house in Godric’s Hollow.

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The ‘snow’ outside at this event really adds to the festive vibe, and makes the Potters’ House look less gloomy and more mysterious and magical than ever.

The Special Effects department is another of my favourites, giving you an insight into make-up, props and animatronics that you might never have guessed were so technical!

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Again, the arrangement of desks like they’re still being used to make the props adds a great dimension to the tour – you feel as though you’re suddenly a part of the film-making process, connecting you even more to the film series.

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When you finally approach Diagon Alley, you feel just like Harry in The Philosopher’s Stone. The shops make you want to run wild, the lighting is perfectly warm and inviting (much alike the Great Hall) and the amount of things to see is endless!

Next up is the Design department. The concept art will make you insanely jealous of the artistic ability of the people involved in the film-making process:

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The mini-figures are absolutely breath-taking. The attention to detail is impressive even in comparison to the rest of the tour – you can really see why the films turned out as well as they did. Part of the beauty of the tour is that the crew behind the cameras are allowed to express their talents to visitors, and visually show fractions of the hard work that went into the making of the films.

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HOGWARTS SPOILERS AHEAD:

After you’ve been thoroughly impressed by Design, it’s time for the main event.

Turning the corner, Harry In Winter by Patrick Doyle begins to play, and – completely in awe – you come across an intricate scale model of Hogwarts castle in the snow.

It’s well worth visiting whilst it’s decorated like this. Not just for the castle, but for all the little extras the team at the Studio Tour add to the sets to give the homely festive feelings the films so excellently evoke.

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Without the snow (for comparison):

The castle is surrounded by interactive boards, which tell you more about how the model was used to shoot film scenes of Hogwarts, and more on its construction (which took 80 model makers over 7 months!). From the website:

‘The crew updated it over the years when the story required it (the bridge was added for Prisoner of Azkaban, the Owlery for Goblet of Fire, and the Astronomy Tower for Half-Blood Prince), and the model was used for nearly every exterior shot of Hogwarts seen in the first six Harry Potter films. The specialist work was so detailed that it would have taken one person more than 74 years to complete!’

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This truly is the most magical part of the tour, and I’d recommend you spend a long time appreciating just how perfect the model is, and get loads of photos!

Even the gift shop at the end of the tour is immaculately presented. Almost like a set itself, you pass through Olivander’s wand shop (where you are reminded that around 17,000 wand boxes were inscribed by hand for the films), to reach the best place to buy yourself and others amazing presents. Wands, sweets, plush toys, mugs, keyrings, robes, notebooks, pens, house jumpers and t-shirts – you name it, I bet they’ve got it!

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Hogwarts in the Snow will be running from today (13th November) until Sunday 31st January 2016. It’s such an amazing experience, and we at Leaky would definitely recommend visiting!

More information can be found on the event’s page here, and tickets can be purchased here. The guided option of the tour is narrated by Tom Felton, and this is definitely recommended if you want to know the inside-out details of the film-making process as you walk around the tour.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Warner Bros. for inviting us to this special event – it was an absolutely amazing evening, and we hope everybody else enjoys Hogwarts in the Snow as much as we did!

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11. Pottermore at the MinaLima Exhibit

As we reported previously, MinaLima has a special exhibition currently in London. The Pottermore Correspondent took a trip to the exhibition (and hinted that a Harry Potter actor or two may show up to see the exhibition themselves sometime). The PMC was also able to conduct an exclusive interview with Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima.

Pottermore uploaded high resolution scans of some of the artwork that will be displayed at the exhibition. Of the PMC’s chat with Mina and Lima, Pottermore reports:

 

Edwardo tells me there are nearly 90 prints in this exhibition. ‘We are doing it chronologically, by book. So we start with the letter and the ticket…’

‘It gets very busy by the sixth book. It’s just all over the place,’ says Mira.

‘And we have a selection of authentic props, too,’ Eduardo adds.

‘It was so nice of them to let us do that,’ says Mira, meaning the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, who has lent them some of the props they designed for the films, to show at the exhibition. They’ll be carefully placed on display in cabinets throughout the gallery space.

 

Pottermore got the two talking about collaboration and what it was like working together on such big projects. The pair have been working in tandem for so long, they think of themselves as one unit.

 

One of the charming things about Mira and Eduardo is how they finish each other’s sentences. They never properly interrupt one another though; it’s more that they’re on the same train of thought. That’s how they work together, too, they tell me. It’s so collaborative they can never really tell who did what and when.

Eduardo says, ‘We are basically two bodies and one brain.’

‘Er, gross,’ says Mira.

‘No, well we can’t really say now that one person designed one thing and one did the other, can we?’

‘That’s true,’ Mira adds. We might say ‘oh, can you do this bit for me?’ or I might draw on something he’s started. But yes, you’re right. That’s how we are.’

 

To see photos of parts of the exhibit, Pottermore has uploaded a small collections of photos onto their Twitter. The exhibition opened today, November 30, and will remain open until December 19th. MinaLima’s last exhibition saw over 10,000 visitors, including special guests. The exhibition resides at The Coningsby Gallery, London, and is free admission. Please see the Gallery website for times and other important information.

Leaky will be present at the MinaLima exhibit and Dinner in the Great Hall later this week. Please stay tuned for articles of these fan attractions first hand!

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12. EXCLUSIVE: A Visit with Mina and Lima at the HP Graphic Art Exhibition

Leaky was honored with the opportunity to talk with the wonderful Graphic Art designers of the Harry Potter films, Mira Mina and Eduardo Lima, at the Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films Exhibition.

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Hidden away in a small gallery off of Tottenham St., only set apart from the other shop windows by it’s floating candles, the exhibition itself was breath taking–one of the few opportunities fans have to be so up close and personal with the materials used to make our favorite films–show casing 83 of the thousands graphic art pieces MinaLima designed. It is a magical experience for any Harry Potter fan, that takes on an even more surreal feel when the two geniuses behind the artwork enter the gallery. One cannot resist sneaking up to them to ask a few questions, beginning with how these select few pieces chosen.

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“We have curated lots of stuff. But there is stuff that doesn’t warrant being presented like this,” Mira said.

“For example, the print with Slughorn’s potion label. We designed loads and loads, but that one was the best,” Eduardo said.

“We selected them like the X-Factor. ‘You’re a no go, sorry.’ Dumbledore’s memories, the Weasley Wheezes stuff, there were hundreds of labels in that shop, but most of those were just put together on set. We tried to choose the ones that mattered most to design, the most thinking.”

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When asked it the designs they enjoyed creating the most were the ones that required the more thinking, Eduardo and Mira took a moment and then agreed.

“I suppose so,” Mira looked at Eduard, who nodded. “Yeah. We never really thought about it. The process is quite intuitive for us. Though, that does’t mean it’s easy! I just never really think what the process is, it just sort of happens.”

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Many of those apart of the Harry Potter series have felt the pressure of living up to the expectations for such a phenomenon. Eddie Redmayne has mentioned feeling such weight joining the Potter universe as Newt Scamander. But the same pressure did not seem to have an effect on that design process.

“It was big but it was all very smooth.” Eduardo said.

“It was a big production, with lots of time and lots of money. The things you feel pressured with in film is when you don’t have time to do things really nicely, and that’s when it is frustrating.” Mira explained.

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“We were there, as well, and for 10 years. Each year became a little bit smoother,” Eduardo said. “It was the same people. We had the same art department, the same producers, and the last four with the same director. That helped.”

Walking around the gallery, I was asked what piece was my favorite out of the 83, and I couldn’t choose. I asked Mira and Eduardo, out of the thousands of designs they created, if they had any pieces that were especially near and dear to their heats:

“I always say that my favorite thing to design was the Daily Prophet,” Eduardo said.”All of it was brilliant. And the Marauder’s Map.”

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“It’s kinda a bit mean if we say that because they’re like our babies, and would be mean to say one is better than the other,” Mira added, with a smile.

“Especially now in a situation like this [the Exhibition]. Years have gone by, you step back, and look back in. Everything looks nicer when you do that. When you put it away and revisit it later, it has a new life, a new energy. Those two pieces [the Daily Profit and the Marauder’s Map], because of the relationship we had with them. When we were working and they kept coming back. The Marauder’s Map came back in 4 films. It had to have new bits of architecture to reflect the movie it was in. It was very organic, very alive, it just kept growing. So did the newspaper.”

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It is tough to pick favorites. Both Mira and Eduardo also expressed love for all of the Weasley Wizard Wheezes, and all of Hermione’s beautiful books that are hardly ever seen as she keeps them in her bag. The book covers are gorgeous (a few are pictured above), and worth a trip to the Coningsby Gallery in-and-of-themselves.

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Harry Potter was the longest, largest project Mina Lima has had, spending a long time on a film would be spending a year on a set, ten years is unheard of. We have been told that there is unlimited amount of Fantastic Beats films planned–though, almost definitely three to start with. Having just arrived at the gallery, getting off work on the Fantastic Beasts set, which is set 70 years before Harry and feels like a different project, I asked how many years they expected to work in the Potter universe with the spin-off films, if Fantastic Beasts was going to be just as big.

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“No idea, literally no idea,” Mira said. “I’m not even covering anything up now, we really don’t know anything about it.”

“It was easier knowing with the books, having only the seven books,” Eduardo added.

“But even then, when we started there were only two books out,” Mira said.

Even with seven books being specifically planned, Mira added back in the late 1990’s, they had no idea how well the films were going to do, or if they didn’t know if there would be another film. Fantastic Beasts is only a screen play, not adapted from a book, Mira agreed that creating the visuals and the graphic design for Fantastic Beasts was a bit more challenging.

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“When you are creating, there is no back story you can really turn to, which was really great in Harry Potter. Occasionally we have to ask Jo Rowling [for input],” Mira said.

“Even with the Harry Potter books, were not that specific of detail,” Eduardo said. “with the Marauder’s Map she never really wrote how the map looked, she just said something about the footsteps. We are used to that now. When we are there [on set] we have Stuart Craig, David Heyman, David Yates, and we talk to them and feel out how things should be.”

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Like everyone involved with anything related to Fantastic Beasts, Mira and Edward are also on a gag order not to release any information. They could not specify if Fantastic Beasts was stylistically different or similar to Harry Potter–same universe, but years apart. They did say that the year 1926 will make at least make a difference, and they loved talking about what it was like working on a period piece from a graphic designer’s perspective.

“1920’s America is amazing to work with,” Eduardo said, grinning with excitement.

“Not just for us, it’s a great set for any designer,” Mira agreed. “Even when we’re doing muggle stuff it is exciting.”

“No-Maj,” Eduardo corrected her.

“Oh is that one out?” Mira asked. We talked about the great debate of Muggle vs. No-Maj that the release of the American term, for non-magical folk, had created. I was quizzed on how to say the term as an American, as pronunciation seemed to be the great debate on set.

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The new level of secrecy around the Potter spin-off series is something for everyone to get used to. As fans read the books before the movies came out, there was no need to build excitement or protect anyone from spoilers. It is almost as frustrating for those on set as those off set.

“I was a little annoyed when they sent memos to everyone saying you can’t say anything,” Eduardo sympathized with me as I struggled to ask questions that didn’t pry far into Fantastic Beasts. “There is so much. It is very annoying that everyone will have to wait until next November.”

These two are so excited about the films, just bursting to share it with everyone…but they can’t they have to wait just like the rest of us. In the mean time, the original world of Harry Potter still has much to offer fans. While in London, one simply cannot miss a trip to the Studio Tour, or the MinaLima Exhibition, currently being shown in the the Coningsby Gallery until December 19.

For more information about the gallery exhibition, please visit the the Coningsby Gallery website. To learn more about Mira Mina, Eduardo Lima, and their amazing work, please visit their website.

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13. Leaky Dines in the Great Hall at WB Studio Tour London

Leaky was honored to earn a seat at the press table at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London’s Dinner in the Great Hall. Seated with MuggleNet, SnitchSeeker, Time Magazine, and the Pottermore Correspondent (yes, the mysterious PMC…who will remain a mystery by gag order), the dinner was everything a Potter fan could dream: good company, good food, and endless magical moments.

The evening started off with being whisked off to the studios on a Harry-Potter decked out double decker bus. (*Click on all pictures to enlarge*)

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Dinner guests were shuttled to the door of Warner Bros. Studio Tour, where each guest was checked in, given a souvenir tickets, and free drink and professional photo passes. The check in desk was decorated in wizardly fashion, with quills, antique type writers, and guests names in large Gringotts-like registers.

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After check in, guests enjoyed complimentary hors ‘derves,  champaign, and juices, as they congregated in the lobby and got to know one another. In addition to the usual profile shots and Mr. Weasley’s flying car suspended above, the lobby was decorated for Christmas, with a large tree as a center piece. The first sign that the Studio Tour was still decorated for Christmas from it’s Hogwarts  in the Snow event.

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Not knowing his new girlfriend was one of those crazy fans who would queue for hours for the midnight release of a book, this young gentleman, was fully converted to be one of us. They are now married and enjoying a special dinner together in the Great Hall!

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Emma, Dan and Rupert’s hand prints have been commemoratively frozen in cement, on display in the lobby of the studios in which they spent ten years of their lives.

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Though the Dinner was advertised as a black tie event, WB gave the all clear for some very dedicated fans to come in cosplay–and those who did were fabulously costumed. Above, Fenrir Greyback takes Bellatrix to dinner rather than having her for dinner.

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Others chose to adorn beautiful Gryffindor embroidered tuxes, and bring a Slytherin as their date.

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Before entering the Great Hall, guests were immersed in the usual Studio Tour process; first held in a small theater/holding room (Theater J), where Harry Potter film posters from around the world and an introduction video from the producers were displayed, and then ushered in a larger theater (Theater K…see what they did there?) to watch a welcoming video from the Trio. When the movie was finished, the screen raised to reveal the magnificent doors to the Great Hall.

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Beyond the lobby is a vestibule where lines form to enter the two theaters that begin the tour. In the vestibule, fans are able to see the set used for Harry’s cupboard under the stairs at Number 4 Privet Drive and learn how the franchise came to be. Below, an excited fan poses in front of Harry’s first “bedroom.”

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Examples of the Harry Potter film posters from around the world that are shown in holding room (small theater, J). An introduction video by David Heyman, telling of how the movies came about, is shown across these small screens before fans are ushered into the auditorium (theater K).

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When the introduction movie ends, the auditorium’s screen rolls up to reveal a red carpet leading to the glowing Great Hall doors, adorned with wreaths for Christmas. A guide invites guests to gather in front of the doors.

In honor of those celebrating special occasions with this very special dinner, those who were celebrating birthdays had the chance to place their hands on the Great Hall doors, and push it open to reveal the splendor within.

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The Great Hall was decked with more than just balls of holly (fa la la la la). Guests were seated at tables of ten, that were set with floral candle center pieces, Christmas crackers, menu cards, and place tags. Red wine, white wine, sparkling and still water were provided for the table to share throughout dinner (and if tables ran out, wait staff were happily to oblige your goblets of wine with a good top-up!).

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Leaky was seated at the press table alongside MuggleNet, SnitchSeeker, Pottermore, Time Magazine, and the winners of the WB Dinner in the Great Hall Contest. (The Pottermore Correspondent’s identity shall not be revealed, and there for their face shall remain obscured from the images.) With the love Harry Potter, and journalistic experiences in common, it wasn’t long before the press table became the most fun, most excited, most vocal and loudest-cheering table in the Hall.

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From left to right (front row): SnitchSeeker, PMC, MuggleNet, Time Magazine. The winning couple are pictured behind the news correspondents.

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The adorable couple who won tickets to Dinner in the Great Hall were celebrating their two-month wedding anniversary, still beaming like newly weds!

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Time Magazine snapped a shot of the Harry Potter fan sites united as one, including Pottermore.

 

Before the arrival of a truly fabulous dinner, the Great Hall doors suddenly burst open. Special affects smoke and fog streamed through as a trio of Death Eaters made their entrance. They never broke character as they mingled with and terrified the guests. No amount of provocation could force them from their silent and frightening presence.

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One brave fan stood and tempted a Death Eater in a duel.

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Before dinner concluded, the props and costumes around the hall were given explanations and back stories. All costumes on display throughout the Tour were worn by the actors in the films. Guests whipped out their cameras to snap a photo as the Christmas Pudding props briefly burst into flames.

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The Christmas Puddings burst into (fake) flames.

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Daniel Radcliffe’s last set of robes and Neville’s Battle of Hogwarts outfit are among the costumes that represent Gryffindor House.

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Robert Patterson’s Tri-Wizard Tournament stands among the robes and costumes representing Hufflepuff House.

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Included in the Ravenclaw House collection is Moaning Myrtle’s ghostly robes, worn by Shirley Henderson.

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As Draco Malfoy is the ultimate representative for Slytherin students, Tom Felton’s robes, featuring an Inquisitors Badge given to him by Umbridge,  from Order of the Phoenix are displayed for Slytherin House. 

 

Tables of guests were dismissed from the Great Hall to explore the rest of the Studio Tour at their own pace (or until set-up for the dance had been completed at 11:00, and guests re-congregated to give their best Luna Lovegood interpretive dances). The Studio Tour is full of amazing props and costumes. It is exhilarating to be so close to the authentic Harry Potter materials, and it would be impossible to include in this article coverage all 433 photos that were taken.

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One of the main first features of the Studio tour is the gates of Hogwarts, currently guarded by Death Eaters.

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Across from the Hogwarts gates is the one and only Leaky Cauldron–a place where people of all characters are free to kick back, and hangout.

 

Decorated for the Hogwarts in the Snow feature, which runs until January 31, the sets were garnished with Christmas decorations.

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The Hogwarts in the Snow feature also included new prop displays, such as the Goblet of Fire. The outer casing around the Goblet is intricately carved wood, with inset beads and ruins etched in, and mechanically enhanced to melt away and reveal the Goblet. The Goblet itself, also made of wood, spews blue steam, that turns red before shooting out a piece of burnt paper with Harry’s name on it.

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With a focus on snow, the Tour also set up a demonstration booth where fans were able to come see (and feel!) how fake snow and fire were created for the films. Buckets of four different types of snow materials were available to finger (salt for snow that crunches, and shredded paper for making good snow balls were two examples). Fire effects were simply created with steam and LED lights.

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The Studio Tour begins and ends with displays that were originally apart of the tour when it opened its doors in 2012. In the middle of the tour, three editions have been added throughout the years–a room specifically dedicated to the Dark Arts, a room with booths that allow fans to ride a broomstick or drive the Weasley car in front of a green screen, and the Hogwarts Express, which was revealed earlier this year.

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The hall leading to the grand Hogwarts Express exhibit are adorned with high-def images of important scenes that involved the scarlet steam engine–beginning with a tour part image of Harry’s first visit to Platform 9 3/4 in Philosopher’s Stone, and an image of Harry’s last film appearance on the platform, dropping off his son, Albus Severus.

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Here, guests are able to take photos of pushing a cart through the wall, similar to King’s Cross Station, shop for Platform 9 3/4 related merchandise at the Railway Shop, or pick up a treat in the sweet shop next door. Dinner guests were treated to complimentary desserts and beverages on the Platform, half way through the tour.

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The Hogwarts Express exhibit was designed to be viewed from the inside as well as the out, allowing fans to feel like Hogwarts Students boarding the train. Seven of the train compartments (one representing each film) were set up as if they had just been vacated by our favorite Hogwarts characters, who would be back to collect their personal items off the seats.

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Departing Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express, dinner guests were able to collect a complimentary mug of delicious Butterbeer, only available at the Studio Tour and Harry Potter theme parks.

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A portion of the Studio Tour is outside, to accommodate large props, sets of important buildings and allow fans to touch and interact with them first hand. Leaky and MuggleNet decided to make a quick escape down the Hogwarts wooden bridge, and to our get-a-way vehicle, Sirius’s bike and sidecar.

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Other interactive features included building fronts of Privet Drive, Godrick’s Hallow, the Knight Bus, the Weasley car, and larger-than-life stone wizarding chess pieces.

The Studio Tour contains more than props and sets. It is also home to special affects departments, who helped bring magical creatures to life on screen.

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Interactive parts of the special affects room included repotting a Mandrake and watching a fetal Voldemort breath, and raise its head to new life, with the simple touch of a button.

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Of course, every detail of the Harry Potter films took a lot of brainstorming, planning, drawing, painting, model building, and more before the sets and props were physically constructed. Much of this process adorns many walls of the next few rooms, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the creative process.

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The tour comes to an emotional close, as fans walk up the set of the real Diagon Alley, turn the corner, and lay eyes upon a breath-taking model of Hogwarts, snow-covered and sparkling in the special-affects and lighting produced “evening starlight”.

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Dinner guests exited through the gift shop as tour guests do everyday, and found themselves in a re-decorated lobby and vestibule. A chess-board dance floor had been laid, and lights hung, for guests to dance the night away into the wee hours of the morning.

 

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This was Warner Bros. Studio Tour London’s first Dinner in the Great Hall event. There have been whispers of making such a magical experience an annual event, allowing the chance for more fans to have an enchanting night. With the success of their first attempt at giving fans such an experience, we do hope the Studio Tour is inspired to make this an annual tradition, and we encourage fans to attend. There is nothing like becoming a Hogwarts student, just for one night, and enjoying a great dinner in the Great Hall.

We would like to thank Warner Bros. Studio Tour and all the House Elves involved in making this night truly special, and providing this opportunity for us and for fans.

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14. “Strictly Come Dancing” Christmas Special Features Great Hall set

The highly acclaimed British dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing, features the Great Hall set from the WB Studio Tour London in this years Christmas Special.

BBC One posted photos of the episode, revealing details of where the show, and its behind the scenes content was filmed. Much of the episode has been filmed with the usual Strictly Come Dancing studio, with a live audience and judges. However, many behind the scenes photos reveal the final contestants dancing in the Great Hall, peaking through the Great Hall doors, posing in front of a Wizarding Christmas Tree, and boarding the Hogwarts Express at the Making of Harry Potter: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Some of these photos can be seen below:

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Visit BBC One for more!

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15. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Video Web Chat with Harry Potter Cast Members on October 13

Harry Potter fans will be treated to an exclusive video web chat with cast members from the Harry Potter film on October 13th at 10am EST (3pm BST) to mark the opening of ticket sales for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter.  Actors scheduled to take part in the video web chat include:

  • Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley)
  • Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
  • Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
  • Nat Tena (Tonks)
  • Oliver Phelps (George Weasley)
  • James Phelps (Fred Weasley)
  • Warwick Davis (Flitwick/Griphook)
  • Mark Williams (Mr. Weasley)
The final group has yet to be confirmed.

The stream of the live video web chat will be available right here on Leaky starting at 10am EST (3pm BST) on Thursday, October 13th.  Starting at 9am EST (2pm BST), fans can start to ask their own questions for the actors via Twitter if they follow @WB_StudioTour and include the #WBStudioTour hashtag.

In the mean time, let us know in the comments what you'd like to ask the actors!

As readers will recall, tickets for the general public for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter will be available starting Thursday at the following price points:
  • Adult (16 years and above) - £28.00    
  • The Complete Studio Tour Package (Adult - Save £4.95) - £27.95 (one Adult admission, Souvenir Guidebook Disc and a Digital Guide Disc)    
  • Child (5 to 15 years) - £21.00    
  • The Complete Studio Tour Package (Child - Save £4.95) - £30.95 (one Adult admission, Souvenir Guidebook Disc and a Digital Guide Disc)    
  • Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) - £83.00    
  • Family (1 Adult + 3 Children) - £83.00    
  • 4 and Under - £0.00
Fan priority tickets, which went live only yesterday, have sold out.

Check out Leaky's full preview of the tour right here.

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16. Harry Potter Pop-Up Shop Opens at Harrods

A new Harry Potter pop-up store has opened on the third floor of the popular London department store, Harrods.

Fans will have the opportunity to shop for Harry Potter products from the likes of the Noble Collection, LEGO, Hasbro and more. Original costumes and props from the films will also be on display, and visitors will get a sneak peek at the upcoming attraction, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - the Making of Harry Potter. A special installation has been set up by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London where fans can take their photo at the Great Hall

There will also be game booths set up for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, once it is released on Nov. 18.

For more information, check out the press release on Facebook. The Harry Potter store in Harrods will be open until January 2012.

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17. Art Directors Guild to Honor Harry Potter Creative Team for Contribution to Cinema

The Art Directors Guild will present the creative team behind the "Harry Potter" films with the Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award. This will mark the first time a movie series is given the award, according to Deadline Hollywood.

The creative Potter team includes author J.K. Rowling, producers David Heyman and David Barron, director David Yates, screenwriter Steve Kloves, production designer Stuart Craig, art director Neil Lamont and set decorator Stephanie McMillan.

The award will be presented during the 16th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton. Congrats to all being honored!

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18. James and Oliver Phelps to Attend Opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Sydney

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be making its next stop at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia beginning Nov. 19. To celebrate the opening of the Exhibition, Harry Potter actors James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley twins) will be making a special promotional appearance at the museum.

The Phelps will be interviewed by the press on Nov. 17 during a private event. On Nov. 18, they will be attending an Opening Party for the exhibition. Tickets can be purchased by fans interested in attending the party: $95 for adults, $75 for children. The ticket price includes entertainment, food, non-alcoholic drinks and exhibition entry.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be at the Powerhouse Museum until March 18, 2012. For more information, visit this website.

Thanks to SnitchSeeker for the news!

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19. Diagon Alley Set to be Included in Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter

London mayor Boris Johnson was present this morning at Warner Bros. Studio Tour to help reveal the latest Harry Potter set to be joining the Making of Harry Potter tour.

Guests at the Studio Tour will have the opportunity to walk through Diagon Alley, and see such shops as Ollivander's, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Flourish & Blotts, Gringotts and Eeylops Owl Emporium.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter will open on March 31, 2012. Tickets are now on sale!

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20. Knight Bus Joins Exhibits at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Warner Bros. announced today that the famous triple-decker Knight Bus will become a permanent fixture at The Making of Harry Potter - Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Fans will have the opportunity to explore the inside of the bus and pose for photos. It will be situated next to Hagrid's motorbike and the Weasley's Ford Anglia. Photos of the Knight Bus at Leavesden Studios can be seen at this link.

John Richardson, special effects supervisor for the Harry Potter films, explained to the Watford Observer how the Knight Bus was constructed:

“Although many people think the Knight Bus was a CGI creation, it is in fact a real-life working bus. To construct it, we cut up two iconic Routemaster buses, reworked the structure and bolted it all back together to create one bus with three decks. It took weeks to put it together and it was no easy task. Routemasters are 60 years old, so we had to do a lot of strengthening of the structure.

Another issue we had was filming on location in London. During the shooting of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban we found we could not drive it across the capital due to the number of low bridges. This meant that we had to transport the bus in two pieces between locations and put it back together between filming."

The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will open on March 31, 2012. Tickets can be pre-booked on their website; tickets will not be available for purchase at the studios.

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21. Interview with Oscar Nominees Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan On Designing Harry Potter Films

HitFlix blog has published a lengthy interview with Stuart Craig (production designer) and Stephenie McMillan (set decorator) following their Oscar nomination in the Art Direction category for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." Craig and McMillan have also worked on the previous 7 Potter films.

The pair discuss how they got the job on the first "Harry Potter" film, working with different directors, building the sets for the final battle and the changes that took place throughout the series.

The complete interview can be read at this page, while some excerpts are published below:

At times, the developing story meant they needed to work in particularly new and creative ways. McMillan found the most exciting transformation was turning the Great Hall into the setting of the Yule Ball in "The Goblet of Fire," for which they were nominated in 2005. “How do we make it into an ice palace," she reminisces. "Originally we thought silver curtains, silver table cloths and an ice dance floor, but it just went on and on. The drapes man eventually said, ‘Why not just stick the fabrics on the wall?” While an enormous amount of work, the degree of pleasure and pride is palatable in McMillan’s voice. It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that “The Goblet of Fire” earned the duo a trip back to the Kodak after missing for “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban.”
Along with the changing story and expanding sets, the duo also had to contend with changing directors. Criag, for one, relished the changes that came with different men at the helm. “Each one of them managed to find a different take," he says. "It kept the whole thing vital and alive."
Both comment on the fact that Chris Columbus’ strengths lay in working with the child actors, while, Alfonso Cuarón (who directed "The Prizoner of Azkaban," which signaled the change in aesthetic signature for the series) had a very visual sense. “He wanted to make films much more magical and he really pushed all of us,” McMillan says. They also add that Mike Newell’s film ("The Goblet of Fire") was really about teenage angst and fun. McMillan says he “liked the boarding school aspect of it” while Craig says the director wanted to inject more humor into the proceedings.

The Art Directors Guild will also be honoring these two individuals with an honorary award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery.

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22. Harry Potter: The Exhibition Opening at Singapore's ArtScience Museum in June

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be making its first stop in Asia at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from June 1 to September 30, 2012.

The traveling exhibition of props, costumes and set pieces from the Harry Potter films is currently at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum until March 18.

Tickets for the ArtScience Museum go on sale beginning May 1, 2012 through the museum's website.

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23. Photos: Inside Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter

Leaky participated in a press tour of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter this morning and now has a special gallery of high res photos from the experience right here!  Stay close for Leaky's full report, set to be online soon.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour opens to the public on March 31st.  For tickets and more information, visit the official website here.

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24. A Decade of Secrecy Smashed (and the Cauldron FOUND): The WB Studio Tour

Before we even start this, let's do something important. Yesterday we found something that people on this Web site have been searching out since its inception. Yes, I'm talking about the Leaky Cauldron. Not the place. THE CAULDRON. Check it out.

The Leaky Cauldron!


And if you think that working on a Harry Potter Web site for nearly 11 years could make you jaded, or make finding the physical object upon which your Internet enterprises are based, well, I encourage you to look at this:

The real Leaky Cauldron

That's what happens when a Leaky webmistress stumbles upon the site's eponymous cauldron used in a fictional pub during the third film of the Harry Potter series. 

Of course, it's not the real one. There is no real one. That last sentence was inserted just for people who scoff at how we all take it too literally. Shuttup, you. We know. We are SANE. We know it's all fiction and fantasy. 

But that's what's somewhat amazing about all of this: I have seen every set since I went to Prisoner of Azkaban in 2003, when I was the very first and only fan reporter to set foot on those now famous flagged stone floors - something which, though common now, at the time was secret and careful and precious. It felt like experiment in a fan's ability not to cause medical emergencies while surrounded by Potterania. Will she survive? Will she restrain herself from nervous collapse?

For nearly a decade the WB warnings have rung in my head: Don't take a picture! Don't sneak a shot! You can't talk about this part! That part's a secret! If you tell ANYONE about ThisorThat thing we will have your head. We will send 13 scary clowns and, for good measure, the cast of Jersey Shore to your apartment WHILE YOU SLEEP! Beware the wrath!

The Ministry knows wrath.

We have beworn the wrath. And beworn it well. So I cannot overestimate what it is like to walk back to Leavesden for the something-something-number time, and hear the words, "Take whatever pictures you want."

Pendulum of death!

What? Seriously? Can I just...touch this table here? Can I really lay myself down on the flagged stone? (We don't recommend this! It's just hard and cold. No magic will get into you by osmosis, though you do risk the chance of a few diseases.) Is it all right to just take my telephoto lens and zoom into the microfibers of Luna's Christmas tree dress? What about if I just cop a feel on Buckbeak? Can I really peer into Weasley Wizard Wheezes? And is security really not going to attack me in V-formation if I j

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25. Livestream for Red Carpet Grand Opening of Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The red carpet for the grand opening of Warner Bros. Studio Tour - the Making of Harry Potter is about to get underway! Watch live as the cast and crew of the "Harry Potter" films arrive and speak to presenter Alex Zane. Leaky will have more coverage from the grand opening, so stay tuned!

 

Watch live streaming video from wbstudiotour at livestream.com

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