You Came As Harry Potter - HP Day 9

Trip Start May 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our final full day!! Saturday was definitely one of my absolute favorite days. We all met up bright and early to go to Paddington Station where we would be catching the Hogwarts Express.  It was so much fun because most everyone was dressed in Hogwarts attire.  David went as the alternate universe Harry if Harry had gone Slytherin (it was between that and Harry and Cho's illegitimate love child – since he’s been told he looks like HP and he’s Asian) and congruent with our sorting ceremony I was Gryffindor , mom was Ravenclaw, and dad was Hufflepuff.  We were quite a spectacle as a group (family & adult 10-day and 5-day plus the day-trip people) walking through the station and got a lot of funny looks and double takes. David and I even had a duel on our platform.  It was so exciting when the train finally arrived!  The first three cars were used for filming and the front and sides were just as you see it in the movies; it was even coal powered.  It was unbelievably cool. 

We got a compartment and proceeded to do a variety of reenactment shots.  Oh man, it was so exciting and surreal to be there and be on the actual train.  The train has a few select journeys but is otherwise locked up (since it has been vandalized by graffiti before) – there was an announcement that the Hogwarts Express would be running so at each station we passed there were people with both still and video cameras waiting.  There was also a magician on the train that came around doing tricks for each compartment and a candy trolley cart with a candy witch who gave us a small bag of candy. It was nice to sit and enjoy the compartment, visit other groups, and explore the train. 

We made it to Oxford and were once again a bit of a spectacle in our robes.  There were these two little boys who got into an intense duel and David and I enjoyed watching it, they boys debated who had been killed first… I must say that the kids used a shocking amount of unforgivable curses.  At Oxford we grabbed a quick lunch and saw a couple of graduations finishing up before going to New College where they shot some of the hallway and courtyard scenes, notably where Malfoy gets turned into a ferret in GOF.  When I was leaving New College there was a guy coming in through the gateway and after he got out of my way I took a picture of the archway.  He said, "You came as Harry Potter," with a British accent and I told him that we were on a HP tour; I think he was a bit bewildered. We also saw the outside of where they shot the library scenes but were unfortunately not allowed to go in.  Our second stop was Christ Church where the stairs to Hogwarts seen in the 1st and 2nd movie are and where the inspiration for the Great Hall is also found.  The stairwell was very recognizable if not a bit crowded.  Before we left I saw a group of Japanese girls taking turns taking pictures with three of the dressed up boys from the family tour.

On our way back to London we sat on the third train where Malfoy and co. sat in HBP and Malfoy stomps on Harry’s face.  It was pretty cool to sit in the same seat that Tom Felton had sat in.  Mom and dad fell asleep on the train but David, Tanya, Michelle and I stayed up talking about HP and doing a few reenactments from HBP.

We then concluded our tour with a banquet at Lincoln’s Inn, one of the oldest Great Halls in England, they served butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and a delicious multi-course dinner.  Stan Ianevski, who played Viktor Krum in GOF joined us for dinner. After dinner we had another storyteller and when Stan sat on the floor to listen all of the kids swarmed him.  Then Stan had a Q&A about his HP experience and we learned that he had a very interesting audition process and was basically plucked from the crowd by the casting directors.  It was kind of funny though since many of the younger kids asked him questions as if he were his character rather than his own person.  One question was even what it was like to attend Cedric’s funeral… which wasn’t in the movie.  After his Q&A I got a picture and autograph and then spent the rest of the evening taking pictures, reminiscing, and saying goodbye.

I am so glad and grateful to have had this opportunity and it was wonderful to spend it with my family.

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