Thursday, July 5, 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour, Studio 2

Sorry for the delay!  I had a project due today, but now I have a little bit of time to FINALLY wrap up my Harry Potter Studio Tour posts.  So, we've covered the props/costumes/sets and then the back lot with bigger exterior sets.  The only thing left is the stunning special effects that bring the wonderful world of Harry Potter to life and one last absolutely massive set everyone is probably very familiar with.  It shouldn't be a terribly long post, but still longer than the last one.

Now, this isn't technically a creature, but it was in the creature room.  I only added it in because it's so amazing and really is a beautiful prop/costume.  This is Luna Lovegood's Gryffindor lion mask from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Now, even though Luna's in Ravenclaw, all her friends are mostly in Gryffindor, so she tends to support them during Qudditch matches, especially against Slytherin.

 She even went as far as make this hat to wear during the matches to show her support.  The above photo is from the movie, showing Luna, played by Evanna Lynch, wearing the hat.

Alright, on to the creatures that make Harry Potter special.  I really tried to break it down to the most amazing creatures I saw while I was there, but all of them were amazing.  I'm sorry if this seems long, I did the best I could, there was so much to see though.

Who else could this be but the beautiful Fawkes, Dumbledore's pet phoenix.  That's right, Dumbledore's so amazing that he can't settle for a normal pet.  Even by wizarding standards, this is an amazing pet, and very rare.  Fawkes shows up every once in a while, when he's needed.  In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he brings Harry the Sorting Hat, from which he pulls out the Sword of Gryffindor, used to kill the basilisk.  He also shows up when Dumbledore is fleeing the Minister of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Dumbledore then goes into hiding for a few months until things smooth over once again.  Below is a YouTube clip of various scenes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with Fawkes.

Now, remember, I'm in the creature room, so the next few pictures are going to be animals who are important to the movies in one way or another.

Above is Dobby the house elf, my roommate's "favorite" character.  Dobby first appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where he keeps trying to stop Harry from going to/staying at Hogwarts because he's in terrible danger (which he knows because he works for the Malfoy family).  Harry doesn't listen, of course, and chaos and danger promptly ensues.  In the movies, Dobby doesn't appear again until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 where he helps Kreacher, Harry's house elf he inherited from Sirius after his death, and then to rescue Harry and gang from Malfoy Manor.  As you can probably tell from the photo above, Dobby is injured in this noble endeavor, resulting in his death, which breaks Harry's heart. 

The next photo is, without a doubt, the most famous creature to come out of the Harry Potter franchise.  The song written as the "theme" for it has become synonamous with anything and everything Harry Potter, and when readers read her death in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it felt as if their hearts had been ripped out and stomped on until nothing was left.

Of course I'm talking about Hedwig, Harry's owl.  Hagrid bought Harry Hedwig as a birthday present when he first went to Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Hedwig stayed by Harry's side until she sacrificed herself so Harry could escape the Death Eaters.  When asked about Hedwig's death, J.K. Rowling said that it symbolized the end of Harry's childhood and innocence.  I'm pretty sure that happened when Harry was 11 and one of his professors tried to kill him, just sayin'...

Anyway, John Williams composed a song called "Hedwig's Theme," meaning it to be just that, a theme song for Hedwig to play during the score.  It quickly became the song everyone knew meant Harry Potter with its memorable and incredibly simple opening notes and powerful crescendo that just gives you chills and fills you with excitement.  If you've been living under a rock and have no idea what that song sounds like (first of all, why are you even reading this post?) then check out the clip below with the song.

Alright, just a few more animals left.  I'm not sure if you'd call the next thing an animal, per say, you'll see what I mean in a minute.  Usually there's a clear distinction between good and bad, but there is the rare occasion when you find yourself in the grey area in between, and this next animal is one of those cases.

A werewolf.  J.K. Rowling made werewolves cool WAY before Stephanie Meyer, just saying.  Anyway, this werewolf is none other than one of my favorite characters in the entire series, Remus Lupin.  Lupin was attacked by Greyback, an incredibly evil werewolf-hybrid, as a young boy.  He tried to keep his werewolf status a secret, since they're ostracized in the wizarding world.  His friends, the Marauders, eventually found out, and they supported him completely.  When Remus was a little bit older, the Wolfsbane potion was created, which allowed him to keep his mental faculties while going through the transformation.  Unfortunately, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he forgets to take the potion (because he has more important things to do like save the only best friend he has left), resulting in chaos and near disaster.

The next creature I saw has a direct connection to Remus Lupin and the whole werewolf business.  Now, I was going to include Scabbers, but as Peter Pettigrew is a disgrace to mankind as a whole, I decided on something (or rather someone) far better and more worthy.

Snuffles the dog, AKA Sirius Black as an animagus.  Sirius, along with James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, illegal learned how to magically change into an animal to accompany their best friend, Remus Lupin, when he went through the werewolf transformation while at Hogwarts.  Sirius then used his dog persona to escape from Azkaban in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Later, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius used his dog persona, named Snuffles, to go out every once in a while, pretending to be a pet dog of Harry's.  This, of course, put him at great risk.

Just a few more animals left, and these are pretty big and significant ones in the movies, so they're pretty cool to see, at least in my opinion.  Now, I'm mentioned the Tri-Wizard Tournament a few times in the past few blog posts, so it's about time we took a look at a little bit of what Harry had to deal with during that.

The Hungarian Horntail.  The first task at the Tournament involved Harry, and the rest of the champions, to "fight" a dragon with nothing but their wands to help them to get the egg they were protecting, without the egg, they wouldn't stand a chance in the next event.  Harry picked, at random, the Hungarian Horntail, a particularly nasty dragon apparently.  It's important to know that Harry's name was added to the Tournament without him even wanting to be a part of it, not that he could be, rules said champions have to be 17, and he was only 14.  Even so, the Goblet of Fire picked his name, so he had to compete against others 3 years older than him.

The next creature is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous.  It was inadvertently set upon Hogwarts by a young girl, lonely for companionship and tricked into finding it in one of the darkest magical objects to exist in the entire series, a diary.

The basilisk, accidentally let lose in the castle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by young Ginny Weasley, only a first year at the time and not adjusting well to being at Hogwarts.  She found a friend in a magical diary slipped in amongst her school books by Lucius Malfoy.  We find out in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that that diary actually contains part of Lord Voldemort's soul, and he basically possesses Ginny so she'll do his bidding and try to kill muggle-born students at Hogwarts by using his basilisk.  Now, we've already seen a scene with the basilisk, so I'm not going to post it again.

One more creature.  We're going to move ahead to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  In this movie, Hagrid takes over as Care of Magical Creatures professor.  He has a little bit of a more hands-on approach with creatures that can be a little bit on the more dangerous side.  His first lesson involves teaching the students about Hippogriffs, a hybrid between an eagle and a horse.

This, of course, leads us to Buckbeak the Hippogriff.  Things don't exactly go as planned with the lesson, but it starts out fairly well.  Okay, that's an understatement probably.

Now, we're finally done with creatures, and there's just one more set for us to take a look at, and this is another huge one that any Harry Potter fan will know immediately.

Diagon Alley, aka, the ultimate shopping mall for any witch or wizard.  This cramped space is full of every single type of shop you could ever need as a witch or wizard, ranging from an owl shop and a wand shop to an ice cream parlor for when you get a little hungry (or peckish as they say here).  It's literally rammed into an alley.  This was a really big set, and you can see what it looks like full of witches and wizards in the clip below from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Now, I mentioned that this Diagon Alley set is from later movies in the series, and you might be asking yourself, "Well, how does she know?"  It's actually quite easy, and if you look at the photo of Diagon Alley above, you'll be able to spot it.  I'll tell you anyway.

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the joke shop opened by Fred and George Weasley using the prize money from the Tri-Wizard Tournament, which Harry gave them.  Fred and George dropped out of Hogwarts in a blaze of chaos and fireworks in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with orders to make Umbridge's life as miserable as possible since she had taken over as headmistress of the school (in the book this is far more amusing since even the professors are helping the students make Umbridge miserable).  Anyway, they take the money and open their shop, although none of the members of their family can figure out where this money came from, and they never do really find out.  The joke shop is a HUGE success in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, probably because everyone could use a little bit of cheering up as the war fast approaches.  You could only see the outside of the shop, and look in the windows.

Now, there's one last thing I want to share with you, and believe me, it's been well worth the wait.  Now, the actually Hogwarts castle does not exist in its entirety, anywhere.  Not even at the Harry Potter theme park.  I mean, the castle, all of its towers, halls, grounds, etc.  It's simply far too massive to exist.  Now, you might be saying to yourself, well, I'm pretty sure they have aerial views of the castle in the movies, and those look pretty real to me, not like a computer.  Well, this is what they used:

Isn't it beautiful?  This is close to actually going to Hogwarts as a person is ever going to get.  Any and every wide, sweeping aerial shot of Hogwarts castle was filmed using this castle.  The castle was built by 86 artists and is 50 feet wide.  There are over 2,500 fiber-optic lights in it and is so detailed there are small models of owls chilling in the owlery and hinges on the doors.  Just to give you a sense of how big this model is, check out the pictures below.

This model was first built for Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and used continuously throughout the rest of the movies.  So, when you see Hogwarts for the first time in the entire series, this castle is what you see, pretty cool, right?

After seeing the castle, you go to see one last room, a sort of tribute to all the actors, tech people, etc who worked on the movies.

Now, on just about every single one of those wand boxes is the name of a cast member, crew member, director, etc who had a part in the movie.  I'm not going to show you a picture of each name of consequence I found, but I will tell you who I saw and who they played in the movie:

  • Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley)
  • Dame Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall)
  • Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe)
  • Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy)
  • Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort)
  • Geraldine Somerville (Lily Potter)
  • Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown)
  • Kenneth Branagh (Professor Gilderoy Lockhart)
  • Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
  • Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
  • J.K. Rowling (goes without explanation)
  • Stanislav Ianevski (Viktor Krum)
  • Alfie Enoch (Dean Thomas)
  • Alexandre Desplat (composer of the last movies)
  • Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley)
  • Imelda Staunton (Professor Dolores Umbridge)
  • Oliver Phelps (George Weasley)
  • David Heyman (executive producer of the movies)
  • John Hurt (Ollivander)
  • Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory)
  • Warwick Davis (Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook the goblin)
  • Julie Walters (Molly Weasley)
  • Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley)
  • Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
  • Chris Columbus (director of the first movie)
  • Emma Thompson (Professor Sybil Trelawney)
  • Alfonso Cuaron (director of the third movie)
  • Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself)
  • Gary Oldman (Sirius Black)
  • Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)
  • Alan Rickman (Professor Severus Snape)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange)
  • James Phelps (Fred Weasley)
  • Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
  • Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley)
  • Jamie Campbell Bower (younger Gellert Grindelwald)
  • David Thewlis (Professor Remus Lupin)
  • Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks)
Wow, that's a lot of people, 38 in all, and I didn't even find a few people I wish I had.  So, I'm FINALLY done with all my Harry Potter posts, thanks for being so patient with me.  I'm now going to leave you with a quote from J.K. Rowling from the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere, and the last video clip seems like an appropriate way to end.  Thanks again!

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