Hannah taught her self to read at age 4 so she could read Harry Potter. She directed her first HP film at age 5, she was Hermione for years and years (even though she wore a Durmstrang fur coat…).
We have queued for each new book when it came out, then waited while Hannah would read it all in just a few hours, before we were alowed to touch it. I have read aloud the whole series to each child and to myself.
Hannah used to be able to quote bits of the books she knew them so well.
The boys were not immune to the charms that J K Rowling wove either and happily took part in HP themed games and movies.
At age 11 our kids receive their Hogwarts letter, in green ink written on parchment, delivered by owl….
We even have a whole syllabus I developed for Hogwarts that Hannah used to attend at home. This did require some dressing up and acting on my part…(Perfect homeschooling really)
So you see we have lived and breathed Harry for ten years too, just like those who lived here making these movies.
Yes here we are. Leavensden Studios, near Watford. I know three families that have been here (it has only been open a year) and they all just loved it. One very well travelled person went so far as to say it was THE best tourist attraction they had been to.
If you have a connection to Harry Potter, as so many of us do, then I would say…”what’s not to like…?’
To fans these will all be self explanatory….
Needless to say there were hundreds of photo opportunites as we explored sets, props, behind the scenes work and were introduced to the magic of the movies.
The Great Hall…we were all blown away by the detail and the dedication of those who work in the industry.
Me in the mirror of Erised….(Sorry I can’t tell you what I saw…)
It really did seem as though it was ten fun years where all those who worked here were one big family. I guess those in the film industry are truly living their passion so why wouldn’t you be happy at work?
Me in Privet Drive.
The kids had some Buterbeer to drink as well, sweet and butterscotchy and quite drinkable…Then tried out Hagrid’s motorbike.
Ollie was always Ollivander when he played Harry Potter – he once made a whole lot of wands and set up shop. So exciting for us all to see all these things that filled my children’s childhood imaginations….
Diagon Alley was delightful, again so much detail, we were blown away. (To me being a big picture person not a details person this is doubly impressive!)
This guy had an amazing story and worked in an extremely moving room at the very end….
He had been called in by a mate to help out with catering, on site here, halfway through the ten years of filming. He loved it. So much he stayed on, working 5 hours a day. But he worked every day of filming for 5 years and got to know everyone in the set. (He was supposed to be retiring).
He now spends his day in this room of dedication, thousands of wand boxes each with the name of someone who was involved with the making of the movies. Everyone. And not only has he met them, but he can tell you where in the room their wand box is!!
He was a fountain of stories…I found it all very moving and could have stayed on all day listening to him…
They are all mixed up too, but he can point out anyone.
Here is one cool story he told me…..You know the baby Harry in the very first film? They had a set of triplets for filming, so they could use which every baby was awake at the time they needed him. (Clever ay?)
Well the three boys were never told of their part in the film as their parents didn’t want it to colour their childhood. Until a few weeks ago when one of them was coming to visit the studios, (teenagers now) so their parents told them about it and the boys were understandably blown away, especially when they arrived to find they had their own wand box!!
A magical day for us and I am sure for many….
(except when our purchases at the shop are converted into New Zealand dollars….) Gulp!