JK Rowling has put down her pen, the films and video games have made a fortune and the actors have moved on, but Harry Potter refuses to go quietly — or at least Warner Bros won’t let him.“The Making of Harry Potter”, which opens today, is the latest spin-off from the bestselling books about the boy wizard, promising a chance to relive his adventures with a trip through the set of the blockbuster movies.
The walking tour takes visitors through Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, and offers a glimpse of how the magic made it onto the big screen. Warner Bros hopes to entice 5,000 people through the door each day, with tickets costing £83 for a family of four, presenting it as a unique, behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most popular characters.
For the first time, the tour allows Muggles — non-wizards — the chance to walk down Diagon Alley, the bustling street where Harry and his fellow students go to buy their first magic wands, owls and other school equipment.
About 3,000 wands were made for the eight films, many of them broken by Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry, who used them as drumsticks during down-time on set. Further along the tour, fans can experience the imposing dining hall at Hogwarts School, the scene of much of the action.
In the boys’ dormitory, the beds designed for Harry and his friends when they arrived at Hogwarts aged 11 remain. By the later films, some deft camera work was required to make them look large enough for the now lanky cast.
In the classroom where potions are taught, hundreds of bottles and flasks crammed onto dusty shelves line the walls, filled with mysterious substances — in reality, baked animal bones from a local butchers, and dried herbs.
The British press has given the new attraction a mixed reaction, noting the steep cost of the tickets and the souvenirs, which include nearly £500 for a copy of Professor Dumbledore’s robe. But fans have responded enthusiastically, with tickets for every weekend day for the next three months already sold out.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2012.