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.
Published December 5th 2019
The enchanted shop of everything
House of Spells
The other day I took a walk along Charing Cross Road and discovered a shop called the House of Spells. Surely a magical place like this should not be visible to Muggles, should it? Since I had never seen this place before, I concluded that there were three possibilities: a) its 'Muggle Worthy' Concealment Charm had worn off, b) I can officially confirm that I am a witch, or c) it is a new retail establishment. While I still wholeheartedly believe that b) is an accurate answer, after a quick internet search, I can also attest that House of Spells is a recent arrival to the Leicester Square area.
A self-proclaimed Collectors' Haven, House of Spells transports (or perhaps apparates) you to several three kingdoms, including the realms of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones.
My main interest being Harry Potter, I did not venture upstairs to explore the latter two, however, if the ground floor is anything to go by, fans of those franchises will not be disappointed.
Given its location, I would have expected a shop like this to be very crowded, however, due to the large floor space and well-planned layout, it was very easy to move around and see everything without feeling crammed in.
The staff provide good customer service, with several manning the floor to assist. One woman noticed me examining something curiously and helpfully came to explain that it was a 'magic meter'. Quite appropriate that the first item I picked up should give me a magical appraisal. The magic meter is a beautifully crafted phial that calculates your magical potential. Hold the meter in the palm of your hand; if the bubbles then you are magical. The more bubbles, the more magical you are (I passed with flying colours).
Tears of a Wizard, AKA, Cream Soda
This was just one of the many items that appear to be unique to this shop, as I have never seen it anywhere else before. Another example comes in the form of shimmering soft drinks. These consumables have a swirling pensive-like effect when you shake them. Even more impressive is that they are made from entirely natural ingredients and sugar-free.
When moving onto more familiar products, such as apparel, I was pleased to see that there were several things that I had never come across before. Aside from standard house robes, ties, and caps, the t-shirts and hoodies had some distinctive stylish designs.
Eventually, I did come across a licensed brand that I was well acquainted with. It is one that manufactures keyrings, charms, and pin badges featuring cute chibi-style Harry Potter characters. They had a wider range of characters than I usually see, however, they were pricier than other shops.
Lots of different cups and mugs
If you like a hot beverage on the go, House of Spells can help you do so in an environmentally friendly way with their reusable sturdy coffee cups and flasks. If you prefer to sit down and relax with a drink at home, their large mugs will hold a big builder's brew.
The many faces of Hedwig
Arguably the most beloved creature in the Harry Potter universe, it is no surprise that Hedwig the snowy owl has made it onto many types of merchandise. These include a backpack, pillow, keyring, and even a furry notebook. The most common kind, however, is, of course, a plushie, and I have to say that the soft plush version in House of Spells is the best I've seen, even when visiting official Harry Potter tourist sites.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Buy Them
If Hedwig isn't your favourite creature, then the section on Fantastic Beasts has you covered with nifflers, bowtruckles, and more.
Lots of Harry Potter editions to choose from
My favourite area in the shop was over by the bookshelves, which had various editions of the Harry Potter book, such as the covers by Duddle and Andrew Davidson, the illustrated hardbacks, and house editions. You can also get The Cursed Child and Hogwarts Library.
Replicas from the films
If your interest veers more towards the films, you might prefer the section filled with replica props, like Tom Riddle's Diary and the Triwizard Cup. Whatever aspect of Harry Potter makes you a fan, you'll find something at the House of Spells to gaze longingly at, and if you like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, there is a whole other floor above to explore.