We went to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Watford. It was a present for my girlfriend, who really wanted to go. Of course, I really wanted to go too, but it was only upon arriving that it sunk in just how much I care about that troubled young magician and his pet owl.
Yes, whilst there it gradually dawned on me that – holy potato – I first started reading the books when I was but 12 years old. That means that Harry Potter has been part of my life for 15 years. That’s more than half the total time I’ve been alive. No wonder I still really feel for these characters. No wonder I still find myself wishing, sometimes, that my Hogwarts letter was just lost in the post, and that the possibility still exists for me to enter Hogwarts as a mature student. You’re never too old to go to Hogwarts, are you? Are you? Are you? No.
And it’s not just me: Harry Potter truly matters for millions of people. People love this stuff. There is a passionate, dedicated fandom and, lord above, I appear to be part of it. Why else would I seriously consider spending £20 for a green t-shirt with “Wizard” written on it?
But one of the most life-affirming realisations was that J.K. Rowling has, for all these years, been one of my biggest role models. She lights the way as a writer, as a human, as a muggle. She’s a glorious product of welfare UK; a genuinely inspirational example of how to be rich without being evil. Even more heartening, though, is that she understands how much meaning she’s given to the lives of millions, yet still she appears humble, strangely down-to-earth, despite her hypercolour imagination. She always comes across as grounded, yet spellbound, as if she too is enchanted by this world she’s created.
Each of these realisations sunk in quite early on in the tour. As we were queuing, in fact. One of the first things they show you is a short film on a huge screen in which Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson speak fondly of the time spent filming these films, a time during which these studios were essentially their homes.
Having by then accepted how much this whole thing means to me, I was by that point feeling warm and fuzzy, and getting more than a little bleary eyed. But then something truly magical happened. The film ended with the three actors entering those iconic Hogwarts doors. The music swelled, and then the cinema screen began to ascend, revealing the REAL doors behind it!
There were quite a few gasps and squeals of delight. It was just like Disneyland, but in Watford.
We were then free to explore the Warner Brothers Studios at our leisure. My pithy, concise intro has been neatly wrapped up in – goodness – well under 500 words. So from now on, I’ll let the images do the talking.