I remember getting the first book for Christmas when I was seven years old and thinking "Hmmm I think I'll give that one a miss" because it was about wizards and I was more into reality based novels by Jacqueline Wilson and the like. Fortunately, I did eventually read it and well it was a good job I did because it is obviously fantastic! I really believe that as it follows such universal and positive themes such as friendship and virtue, that it will remain contemporary in years to come. Hopefully one day I can read it to my children's children or something!
My favourite character is Luna Lovegood and dressing up as her for a friend's Harry Potter themed birthday party last year was really good fun. I like Luna's alternative perspective and insight. Oh and she is in Ravenclaw, which the Sorting Hat on the Pottermore website correctly placed me in. Best house!
When you arrive at the studios, there is a bit of queue but there are little things to look such as the Cupboard under the Stairs. At the end of the queue groups are shown a short video about what to expect and then the magic really begins! I won't give away too much about the tour because I don't want to spoil it for anybody who hasn't visited yet but the beginning and end are very impressive. There are three sections - two indoors and one outdoors. The outdoor area has stalls to buy food and drink - most importantly Butterbeer! - whilst wandering outside Privet Drive and hopping on the Knight Bus and the Weasleys' car. Indoors there were thousands of props and costumes, all of which were the original ones used in the films and worn by the actors themselves. The level of detail involved is really unbelievable.
My favourite part was Diagon Alley because one of my favourite scenes in the first book is when Hagrid take Harry there to buy his school supplies before starting at Hogwarts. It almost felt like I had just popped out to buy an owl and a copy of the Quibbler.
If you are able to visit and are a HP fan, I really couldn't recommend this more. We all left feeling anxious to watch one of the movies as soon as possible and think that we will appreciate them more now that we have seen the effort that has gone into producing such a successful series of films. I think all too often the casts of movies are given most of the credit, and of course they are worthy of praise for delivering the brilliant concepts to the audience, but it is the backstage people who really make the films and the Harry Potter experience the amazing masterpieces that they are.
Here are some photos from the tour. Do let me know if you have visited and what you liked most :)