Behind the scenes: The making of Malfoy Manor

Malfoy Manor is the place that the returned Dark Lord chooses as his base of operations during the Second Wizarding War, so for the films, it needed to be suitably foreboding.

Voldemort casts a spell in front of his Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor in a film still from The Deathly Hallows Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Extracted from Harry Potter Film Wizardry.

For Malfoy Manor, we took our inspiration from Hardwick Hall, a fantastic sixteenth-century mansion built during the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth. A unique building, Hardwick has massive windows – so much so that the ratio of glass to masonry is quite high.

When it’s dark inside, the window panes have a mysterious, slightly threatening, and rather magical quality. We made a concept illustration that depicted a huge house with enormous windows – the eyes of the building, so to speak – that were, in fact, blind. That exterior, seen as Snape approaches the gate on the front drive, creates a very impressive and intimidating initial look at the Malfoy home.

Marfoy Manor
© J.K. Rowling/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

To bring the building into the wizarding world, we added a roof with spires. The silhouette was terrific, and because the manor is a real departure from the architecture in the rest of the film, I think those pitched roofs convey something rather otherworldly – and provide a link back to the Gothic style that Harry Potter audiences are familiar with. And, of course, spikes and points tend to add a somewhat aggressive, menacing feeling.

From the entrance hall, with its huge fireplace and Tudor portraits, you climb a double staircase to an upper floor that is filled with long windows. The vast ceiling on that floor is decorated with elaborate plaster mouldings and a great chandelier, which plays an important part in the events that unfold within the manor.

That no other doors lead out of the room was not a conscious decision – it’s just that none were necessary. However, it is altogether appropriate that you felt, even subconsciously, once you’re up there, you’re trapped!

‘Harry Potter Film Wizardry'

Extracted from
‘Harry Potter: Film Wizardry'