I am a total Potterhead. For the uninitiated, that means – and I am quoting the trusted Urban Dictionary here – I am an “amazingly cool person obsessed with Harry Potter.”
After all, I am a part of the generation that grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermione and the gang. I was allowed to skip school for two days every time a new book came out. And I limited myself to reading one chapter a day of the Deathly Hallows because after that, it would be all over. This whole one-chapter-a-day resistance only worked for three chapters and then ensued the familiar n0-food-no-sleep reading marathon.
All Potterheads are familiar with that mellow feeling of emptiness as they read the words, “All was well”. It also meant, all was over.
But, thankfully there were the movies to keep us excited for a few more years. We lined up for midnight screenings and then went back to see the films after the crowds had dwindled down. And then once again after the second Deathly Hallows film, it meant that all was over.
Again, thankfully it wasn’t. There is the fantastic Warner Brother Studio Tour near London that keeps the sets and spirit of Harry Potter alive.
My good friend and fellow Potterhead, Sid, had a 48-hour stopover in London on the way back from a holiday. Being the avid tour guide and geeky host that I am, I asked him what he wanted to do. There was basically just one thing on his wishlist: The Making of Harry Potter tour.
Tickets were booked. Cameras were charged. Spells were revised. We loaded ourselves onto the tour bus and ended up at literally one of the most magical places I have ever visited.
The tour starts with an introduction to the Harry Potter films (as if we needed one! Psshtt), a welcome message from Daniel, Rupert and Emma (yup, we’re on first name basis) and then the next thing you know is that you are standing at the gate of The Great Hall.
The tour then leads to various other smaller sets, like the cozy Gryffindor Common Room in the Gryffindor Tower.
Dumbledore’s Office was awesome as well.
The one set where I just stood for 10 minutes without blinking was the Potions Lab.
My theory is that if I went to Hogwarts, Potions would have been my favourite subject. I literally stood there gawking at all the cool flasks, jars and cauldrons until I had to remind myself to shut my dropped jaw.
After I had seen all the Horcruxes, visited the Weasley Burrow and the Ministry of Magic, it was time to head back outdoors for one of the most anticipated parts of the tour: Butterbeer.
My description of Butterbeer is that it’s a caramelized, super sugary, foamy version of Barq’s Root Beer. One glass is enough to make your tongue go numb (and almost make you sick from the sweetness), but Sid decided to get two. What a party animal!
We headed back indoors after our mid-afternoon drinking rampage. And what came next was definitely one of my highlights of the tour: Diagon Alley.
I was overjoyed to re-live my teenage memories in this larger than life world of Harry Potter. Now, I am trying to find ways to revisit. It’s a good thing I have younger cousins who need chaperoning to places… hmmm…