Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Read the Daily Prophet
If you solely swear you are up to no good, you can take a look inside the Marauders' Map at the House of MinaLima.
When Pottermore announced that a new Harry Potter exhibition had arrived in London, I knew I had to see it as soon as possible. Featuring real props, the exhibit displays graphic art from the Harry Potter films, such as posters, adverts, and the Daily Prophet newspaper.
House of MinaLima, 26 Greek Street, London
House of MinaLima is a small four-floor gallery on Greek Street, which is close to Leicester Square tube station. It is named after Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima (don't they just sound like wizard names?), who met in 2001 on the set of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They worked together as graphic designers on all the subsequent films before founding the MinaLima Design Studio in 2009.
Any Harry Potter fan won't want to miss out on seeing all the great artwork in more detail than you ever get to see in the films, especially since entry is absolutely free. Although the gallery is four stories, the exhibit is really only on the top two levels. On the ground floor is the gift shop, while on the first floor you can see animal art by another artist, whose prints and books feature a compendium of collective nouns. I.E. you can find out what the name for a group of starfish is, etc.
The front window of the gallery looks absolutely magical and beckons you inside. The gift shop is full of limited edition prints ranging from £49 - £349. If that is a bit too pricy, you can also buy them in postcard form.
The items I was most attracted to, however, were the quills, ink, and replica exercise books used by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I had never even noticed these designs in the films before, but now I am going to watch extra carefully to spot them.
Other items for sale include t-shirts and non-Harry Potter related items, such as gorgeously bound classic books of The Jungle Book and Peter Pan, which have pop-out artwork inside.
Travelling up the staircases is part of the journey; while they may not move like in Hogwarts, they are quirky and the walls are filled with behind the scenes photos, prints, and a faux stained glass window of the Hogwarts school crest.
All of the prints were at some point use on set during the Harry Potter series, however, many of them will only have been part of the background, partly obscured, or on screen for such a brief moment that you don't even notice them. Examples I saw include an A-Z poster that had been in baby Harry's nursery and the Black family tree on a wall of Grimmauld Place. We see parts of the family tree up close in Order of the Phoenix, but most of the family members are not actually visible on screen. Among these is Draco Malfoy, whose portrait you can see in the print.
The most fun section of the exhibit has to all the props for Weasley Wizard Wheezes, such as designs for their sweet boxes and advertisements of their products. There are some very funny prints, including one for dung bombs (made using elephant dung) and some beautiful self-writing quills, with your choice of handwriting style.
One thing I have always wanted to do is read the small text on the Daily Prophet, rather than just the headlines. There were plenty of editions to squint at, but even so, you'll find them practically impossible to read. Apart from a few proper nouns that you can make out, the text is very cursive, and I actually suspect that they are not real words at all.
There is more to see than just prints on a wall; there are also a few display cases showing books used in the films, such as Snape's potions book full of scribbling, and the Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook for beginners that Professor Umbridge made Harry's class use for lessons.
One of the gallery's is the age of the building, which you can tell from the steep narrow stairs. It is most evident, however, when you reach the top floor, at which point I felt as though I had entered the Weasley's topsy turvy Burrough, because the floorboards are so sloped and wonky. This all added to the magical experience, and although it does not take long to complete the viewing, it is a brief visit very well spent.