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    Posted September 11, 2012 by
    southampton, United Kingdom
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Nerd pilgrimages

    Harry Potter Studio Tour: When magic became reality


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     A fan of Harry Potter since she was 8-years-old, wonderlander says the Harry Potter Studio Tour was much more than she ever expected. "The experience brought back a lot of good memories from when I was younger," she says. "My initial reaction was excitement and wonder because there is such a build up before you get to go in. The Hogwarts castle model at the end was so amazing."
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    On Easter Saturday this year I attend the Warner Brothers studio tour of the making of Harry Potter. As someone in their early twenties I was lucky enough to grow up reading the Harry Potter books and then see them turned into blockbuster films. When the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film came out I was 10 turning 11, the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione; I too was embarking on my first year of a big and strange new school (though not nearly as enchanting as Hogwarts). Their excitement and apprehension mirrored mine.

    I remember thinking before the film started that there was no way they could possible replicate the sheer wonder of the world described in the book; yet as I left the cinema at the end all such cynicism had vanished. Whilst my 10 year old self could not help but notice the minor differences between the book and the film, the world that had been created before my eyes on screen was so much more that I could ever have envisioned. As each subsequent film came out I too grew up like the characters, revelling in their adventures and empathising with their heartache. And then, after ten years, eight films it came to an end. With the roll of credits at the end of Deathly Hallows part 2 I must admit I had more than a little tear in my eye that such a big part of my childhood had come to a close.

    Then a few months later it was Christmas. To my delight my sister, also a huge Potterhead, had got tickets for us to go to the Harry Potter studio tour once it opened. Annoyingly though I had to wait an agonising few days for the holiday period to end so I could call up and book out time and day. The next few months rolled on and it was finally Easter. We got up obscenely early (since I’d forgotten that the trains are iffy on the Easter weekend) and boarded a three hour train to Watford junction changing a couple of times (it should have taken a hour and a half on a normal day), before embarking onto a not so subtly logoed Potter experience double-decker bus ... and then we were there.

    As we queued up and entered the studio tour it was like being a child again. Everywhere we turned the things we’d seen on big screen were right before our eyes. I must have taken over 400 photographs in an effort to capture every moment of the experience. Instantly recognisable sets, costumes, props and prosthetics both recreated cinematic moments and allowed you to peer behind them. Searching for the hidden golden snitches dotted around the enormous sound stages. The experience seemed to go on and on, but then all too soon we neared the end. And though end it did the finale to the experience was the MOST magnificent of all. Having walked though Diagon Ally and onto a room exhibiting drawings and exquisitely made paper models we ascended to a gigantic room displaying the most jaw dropping creating from the Harry Potter film saga; a colossally big yet unimaginably finely detailed scale model of Hogwarts castle. The sheer sight of it made me well up which was not helped by the emotive score from the final Potter film. The absolute wonderment of seeing the Hogwarts castle model which had so lovingly and passionately be crafted was for me the best moment of the whole experience. The studio tour filled me with childhood wonder and I hope it and the world of Harry Potter will continue to do the same for generations of children to come.

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