Hogwarts has finally opened its doors for us muggles to reveal all its magical secrets. "The Making of Harry Potter" is a 3 hour tour that takes the visitor through the production of the series of films that took almost a decade in the making.
The tour started in a hall with several screens that show how the film Harry Potter became a world revolution. What started off as an idea in a train from Manchester to London became a best-selling saga and a "goblet of gold". From finding a remote book on a shelf of a book store, the video shows all the way until the book touched every corner of the Earth. Quidditch, patronus, dementors, expelliarmus and Gryffindor came to be part of the popular culture.
Then the doors opened and we sat in a cinema not to watch a movie exactly, but to discover how the films came to life. Harry, Hermione and Ron addressed the audience to explain what lies behind the magic of the scenes and show the journey we were about to embark on.
The curtains rise to reveal the doors of the most emblematic place in the films: Hogwarts, the School of Magic. We crossed the enchanted threshold and started the adventure. As if we had been teleported to the movies, we found ourselves in the Great Hall, right where we saw our favourite characters grow up, where the sorting hat placed Harry in Gryffindor, plus the tension of pivotal moments along the eight films to reach a pinnacle in the final battle. For those of us who spent years and years wondering, we finally understood the secret behind the Great Hall's ceiling, which, as it has been said, at times it was hard to believe there was any ceiling at all.
Once we reluctantly left the Great Hall, we entered a new room that took us to a tour through representative places like Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore's office and the Ministry of Magic. Genius, talent and brilliancy made a special footmark in the making of Harry Potter: art, EFX, engineering, graphic designing and decoration in their highest expression made possible tricks like flying brooms while playing Quidditch, mechanic spiral stony staircases that lead to Dumbledore's office, moving objects and animated portraits. While discovering the secrets of such intricate films, it becomes apparent that the real magic is to bring this film to life.
We step out in the open air to find refreshments. Sandwiches, crisps and cookies are available, but right next to them, to our amazement, is a stand of - drumroll please - butterbeer! The drink that was originally created in the book and then portrayed in the films. Tasty, refreshing, sweet and addictive. One was not enough. It must be said they are non-alcoholic so they are suitable for all ages. While enjoying the refreshments, we sat on the corner of Privet Drive, where Harry Potter grew up with his cousin, his uncle and his aunt. In front of us, there was the Knight Bus that will take you to all destinations. Nearby, in the middle of the field, we could admire from up close the Hogwarts Bridge, which did not figure on the book but appeared for the first time in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Before leaving the field, we stood side by side, just like Ron, next to the chess figures - a thrilling sensation.
A new room showed us the creature shop which gave life to characters such as Buckbeak, dwarves and elves. Undeniably, concept artists created a whole world. Made-up creatures became as real as any other human being. Some of us cried when Dobby died, others became attached to legendary creatures like hippogriffs, while most were terrified by enormous spider Aragog.
The emotion builds up and the illusion engulfs… we became another character in the Harry Potter saga once we entered Diagon Alley. Shops, wands, wizards' paraphernalia and bright colours embarked us in a joy ride.
The time came for the Art Department's moment to shine. In a display of white card models, we admired the incipient origin of symbolic structures like Dumbledore's office, Prefect's bathroom, Whomping Willow, Diagon Alley, Divination class, and others. However, the glitziest beacon of the department was the Hogwarts model. Alone in its room, this breathtaking, immense and brilliant structure amazed us as we stepped into the room and were blinded by its beauty and the smart display of lights. It took us minutes to admire every detail of the Hogwarts model.
The tour made the wizards world real to us muggles. Now it is time to watch the films again.