Thursday, 12 May 2016

Platform Whitley and Three Quarters - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Written by Duncan Van Top, Year 7 Student Reporter

Friday 29th April 2016, was a Friday with a difference. 90 students of Year 8 (and 6 of us the Year 7 student reporters), went to the magical world of Harry Potter. Just for your information there were quite a number of BIG Harry Potter fans in our school; therefore the pressure to get a trip ticket before it ran out was quite high.

The trip date is finally here!

7:30am - Everyone was ready in reception waiting to get started. Outside the weather was very nice, dry and cool! It was the end of April anyway! Everyone was pumped up and ready to begin their exploration mission. We, the Year 7 student reporters, went to the Learning Resource Centre to collect the cameras and soon returned to reception.

7:45am - We were off to Harry Potter World in 2 different Johnsons coaches. We were a big group of 90 students and 8 teachers. That was a lot. Two hours later we reached paradise and were ready to discover the magic behind the magic.

We were lead into a room where the start of the Harry Potter book series, and of course the films, was unfolded to us. We watched a short documentary about the Harry Potter film series and a quick glance at J.K Rowling's life.

J.K Rowling, her real name is Joanne Rowling, but she changed it to a new pen name J.K Rowling to make it sound more masculine and it had a better chance to be accepted by publishers. We then learned that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had been written in Edinburgh cafes while Joanne Rowling was struggling with life in terms of money! Wow!

It was after many attempts that Joanne Rowling first book was accepted and.... when it was published, it was like wildfire and soon a film producer wanted to make the first Harry Potter film.
It was amazing! When the film was finished, the screen moved up to reveal the great door that lead into the Great Hall and two of our lucky Year 8 students got to open it.

The magical magnificence of the doors was completely obliterated at the site of the magnificently unique Hall that had emerged from absolutely nowhere. Later on we learned that the Great Hall was built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2000, and was used as a key set for six more films. Wow!

All the emblems and costumes of each of the house teams were placed either side of the Hall including the costumes of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and, of course, Harry Potter.

Once we left the Great Hall, we found ourselves wandering around backstage in places of pure imagination…

First we saw many, many models of Hogwarts in miniature and soon stumbled across an ice palace and a chocolate buffet (not edible as I would’ve snuck through and eat it.) There were structures of swans and other creatures - all made of fake chocolate.

Next I visited the gates, which were unsurprisingly enormous, and soon found my way to the Boys’ dormitory. I found Harry’s bed and also a golden snitch (There were golden snitches hidden everywhere.) Ron’s bed had a knitted blanket on it and all the other beds had suitcases under with initials. Harry Potter, H.P and Ron R.W.

If you were there you wouldn’t believe how many props there were and how much detail was put into each and every one of them, from enormous knight suits to leaning books somehow defying the laws of physics.

Next was the Gryffindor lounge, and there were paintings, a sofa, more paintings, and even a golden snitch –if you can believe that. A look around lead me to the large, grandfather clock bell which got going like a pendulum…back and forth, back and forth.

I couldn’t believe it when I found Dumbledore’s office, which was structurally possible despite how unstable it might appear. Harry’s Headmaster’s office was made of three levels, all circular and got smaller every time. I also saw the telescope and the fire phoenix and it was great.

The broomstick scenes were surprisingly simple to make and were very cleverly displayed. They would sit on a broom, which would be held up by an arm which was green and on a moving machine. If there were two people together they would be carried on two stools.

Afterwards we visited the train, a.k.a Hogwarts Express. We got to get onto the train. How amazing the compartments inside the train were! We then went to platform Nine and Three Quarters (so now you know why the title of this article is “Platform Whitley and Three Quarters”).

We all sat down for a quick lunch as we wanted to discover the displays outside the canteen. The canteen was called the Studio Tour's Backlot, where you can buy Butterbeer!

Outside in the open you could see the 22-foot tall Knight Bus, the number 4 Privet Drive house front. For your information, this house was the quiet, suburban home of the Dursleys, the relatives who raised Harry Potter after his parents' unexpected deaths. Many people walked onto the Hogwarts Bridge and posed for photos. The photos looked stunning.

We also went to different Departments that had helped to make the Harry Potter films: the Creature Effects, the Art or the Prop. You could just stay there for hours.

Diagon Alley is actually a fictional high-street located in London. It was a cobbled wizarding street with a shopping area. You could see the fronts of many shops like Flourish & Blotts (sells magical books), or Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.

Towards the end of the tour we stopped by the breathtaking model of Hogwarts castle which was used for exterior shots of the magical school. We discovered some very interesting facts such as the Castle model was built by a team of 40 artists. It was perfectly hand-sculpted to scale, and the landscape is inspired by the Highlands of Scotland.

That was the end of the trip. Well not till a visit to the expensive Studio gift shop. Personally, I thought some items were overprice but that didn’t stop me from buying a mug which made footsteps appear when hot!

That was it for now.
See you in our next trip report!