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Behind the scenes: The Hog’s Head

This seedy pub's namesake had quite as much effort put into its creation as some of the key magical creatures from the Harry Potter films.

Mounted hogs head illustration
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

To convince potential members to pledge to the newly established Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hogwarts students gather in Hogsmeade’s Hog’s Head pub, a slightly seedy place that Hermione Granger believes will offer them privacy.

Entering the establishment, the students can’t help but notice its namesake at the entrance — a large hog’s head mounted on the wall that rolls its eyes, snuffles its nose, and dribbles ‘profusely,’ according to Nick Dudman, a creature effects supervisor and special makeup effects artist.

The interior of the Hogs Head
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Dudman designed the head to have broad movements. ‘It’s a comic aside,’ he explains. ‘And those are always a pleasure to do, even if it’s a one-off gag that will just help a scene along or give you a diversion for a minute.’ Though the gag is seen only fleetingly on-screen, Dudman and his team gave as much attention to the animatronic creation as to any other creature in the films.

‘There’s actually a lot of time that goes into creating something like this. It has to be sculpted and molded, then the skin is produced in silicone, and then it’s painted.’ The most time-consuming aspect was inserting every single hair individually into the head. ‘But,’ he adds, ‘that gives it an air of realism you really can’t achieve any other way.’

An illustration of Harry and Hermione entering the Hogs Head Inn
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Hog’s Head is an exaggeration of a typical London pub. ‘The iconic ingredients are there,’ notes Stuart Craig. ‘The heavy oak beams, the leaning walls, the uneven floor. But it leans more than any real pub ever could. The oak beams are heavier than you would ever find in a real pub. It’s more decrepit and the wood is more worm-eaten than hopefully you would ever find in a real pub.’

Harry Potter: Magical Places book cover

Extracted from
‘Harry Potter: Magical Places from the films'