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My sisters and I are huge Harry Potter fans and have been so for long before the media hype, which really took off after the 3rd book. Whilst I enjoy the books much more I am also a fan of the films so when the Warner Brother Studio Tour opened at Leavesden I promptly booked tickets for us and we visited on a cold Sunday in February this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour (in fact we're thinking of doing it again!) and on our way out browsed through the gift shop. As would be expected, the gift shop was very expensive so we didn't buy much, however my sister sneakily managed to buy a book entitled 'Harry Potter Film Wizardry' as she'd seen me browsing through it, which she presented to me on my birthday a couple of months later. The book has an RRP of £26.
The book has a red hardback cover with a raised design and is decorated with gold stars and photos of the actors who play some of the main characters including Harry, Ron, Hermionie and Dumbledore. The book is 165 pages long and is packed with behind the scenes images, stories from the set, character insights from the actors who played them and explanations on how some of the special effects worked. The book is a revised edition, covering all 7 films. There are chapters on the characters, the set, film locations, props and special effects. Each topic has a dedicated two page spread with detailed explanations and photos from the film and behind the scenes, designed very much like a scrapbook.
There are interviews with the cast members and their memories of making the films, but also more interestingly for me there are also interviews with the crew, screenwriters who talk about their memories of making the films, how they went about filming some of the more complicated scenes and how the special effects went from paper to screen. You can learn how they made the Ford Anglia fly in the Chamber of Secrets, how the Knight bus was created, why the Yule ball ice structures never melt, how they designed and filmed magical creatures such as Dobby and Fawkes, how they filmed the Quidditch scenes and much, much more.
The actors also include their own stories from the films such as the occasion when Helena Bonham Carter got a bit carried away with her wand in Order of the Phoenix, when she had Neville in her grasp, and she managed to rupture his ear drum! Each page is a delight to read and crammed full of details and interesting snippets from the actors, crew, set designers and producers. It really is breath-taking the amount of effort, thought and attention to detail that went into these films.
The best bit of all though is the little additions that are made for each topic. For example the chapter on Privet Drive has attached to it a real envelope, complete with Hogwarts seal containing Harry's invitation to Hogwarts which he received as a 10 year old living with the Dursleys. Other treasures include sticky labels for your potion bottles (you'll never know when they'll come in handy!), the programme for the Quiddich World cup, an intricately cut invitation to the Yule ball, Weasleys' Wizard Wheeze's product catalogue, a photo album with snapshots from the set and best of all your very own Maurauders map! Each of these items were replicas of those that had actually been used on set and the attention to detail made by the graphic designers is astounding considering many of these items were only on the screen for a few seconds and mostly just in the background.
I felt like a young child again as I worked my way through this book, eagerly anticipating the next pop out treasure and the addition of these made the book highly interactive. It's not a book that I read in one go - it's one that I found myself dipping into every few days but on each occasion I felt completely immersed in the world of Harry Potter that the film producers, actors and crew created.
As you've probably gathered I love this book and it's one that I can see myself continuing to dip in and out of for the foreseeable future. The book is a little expensive but the amount of detail that is included in it makes it worth every penny! A must for all Harry Potter fans both young and old!