Well knowing the magic world, I well know Harry Potter who is a famous wizard whose exploits have been revealed by mistake to the muggles worlds by the historian witch J.K Rowlings. The waves caused by this leak were so important that the minister of protection of the magic world couldn’t manage to stop it with a few memory charms. Thankfully they managed to transform this information into some fantasy novels. However nobody could have predicted the side effect scale it has caused. The “story novels” became so famous throughout the world that the muggles decided to adapt them into films. Maybe that despite all the protection the books still contain a bit of magic? Being a real fan, and I don’t mean one of those who claim to be fan without having read the books at least 2 times, I was curious to have a look at the Harry Potter studio where most of the films were shot. As a wizar… euh a foreigner to this world, I forcibly only can be disappointed by the movies because I know the reality, and also because of some tacky and infantile dialogue and scenes which are not supposed to happen or which must happen differently. Even so, I can’t deny the incredible and magnificent work that the muggles have made to represent how they think is the magic world from what they know from the books.
Visiting the studio was therefore an exceptional experience about the muggle film culture. However it is quite expensive and it takes a long time to get there. Even if I left with some friends from London centre 2 hours before our rendez-vous time at the studios (without magic transports), we were almost late, so much in fact that we had to take a taxi instead of the shuttle to get on time in order not to be refused at the entrance.
The visit starts with the great room, barely ¼ of the real one, with a spectacular presentation. It continues beside into a big Hall where the main film sets are located : Gryffindor room, Dumbledore’s office, the Burrow set, the potions classroom, and others full of different iconic items like the Erizet Mirror which is supposed to show you what you desire the most. And strangely it appears that my greatest desire at that time was to stand inside the Hall of the Harry Potter studio because it’s what I saw. There is also an area for the Quidditch and special effects. A lot of them are by the way made by some very ingenious and non understanding mechanisms for someone of my kind. There are a lot of sights and explanation full of anecdotes on a curious device called “audio guide”. Did you know that the castle paintings are portraits of the film team members? Then the visit continue in the courtyard with the exteriors sets like 4 private Drive, the Hogwarts’s bridge and the different vehicles such as the knight bus, Hagrid’s motorbike, the non flying car in which you can take some non moving pictures. But you will have to be patient or to fight the children and big children like me to take pictures. And it’s outside that you can buy some Butterbeer reproduction, which is basically cider with thick butter-salt caramel foam on top of it. It taste good but it looked strange to me. After this drink experience, you head to the monster galleries to petting the gorgeous Aragog, Buckbeack the hippogriff and Dobby the elf. I’d have enjoyed giving them some life, but practising magic in front of muggles is forbidden. Anyway, after that we went walking in the famous Diagon Alley set, too short compared to the real one. So I hope at least to be allowed to visit the muggle’s Hogwarts castle. Nevertheless I discovered with a terrible shock that the castle is only a big mock-up which takes up an entire room.
Finally, you end up at the shop where you can buy your muggle wizard supplies. Indeed, any real wizards like myse…euh the ones in the novels, would laugh seeing plastic wands and plastic brooms, false Hogwarts uniforms, dead chocolate frogs, owls in plush, false golden snitchs… And sold in this strange muggle money instead of galleon. But even if you know this “pound” money, you will quickly slow down your purchase frenzy at the sight of the prices. Have the moldu a bit of consideration for the people of their kind?