Harry Potter World / The Making of Harry Potter

Sj’s birthday was a little different this year, as instead of wondering what to get her as a present I decided fairly early on the year to take her to The Making of Harry Potter. Now, I’ve always been slightly hesitant of the Potter films, which aside from the third one I felt never really managed to hit their stride and were too beholden to the books. However, the artistry in the design & crafting of the films couldn’t be denied and this is what the exhibition focusses on. I didn’t expect to be quite as bowled over by the exhibition as I was, but that made for a pleasant surprise.

The first thing to comment is that everything appears to have had a great deal of care and attention paid to it, no detail appears too small or inconsequential not to have been included. Everything (and I mean, everything) looks lived in, part of a larger world. Whilst much of it is obviously fantastical, there are touches of the mundane as well (a football scarf here, a magazine there) that give it all a grounding. I wish in retrospect that some of the design sketches / concept art had been displayed alongside the sets themselves so that we could see how far they did or did not deviate from the original design, but that’s a small quibble in the grand scheme of things.

With regards the drawings, I do hope that they at some point release a book of the technical sketches – as the art of draughtsmanship recedes in the architectural industry it’s interesting to see that an industry that seems to be embracing computer technology more and more fall back on old fashioned penmanship to develop it’s ideas. The drawings were nothing short of beautiful, although how practical they’d be in a commercial environment I’m unsure. Likewise, the white-card models were superb, and it did make me a little misty-eyed for my student days.

All in all it was a great day out, although you need to be prepared for just how much money you may end up spending (and not just in the shop, on photographs, butterbeer etc). The crowds aren’t too bad either – because it is ticketed they’ve kept the numbers down to a level where you’re never really just waiting to see stuff and can get pretty damn close to everything and still get a good view.

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