Monday 22nd Feb 2016
Allow us to make a rough assumption.
We’ve all seen Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone so many times we probably know the script better than the actors do at this point. Fair? But in our defence, it has been 15 entire years since the movie first hit screens way back in 2001. And that’s a lot of time for re-watches.
To celebrate all these years whizzing past our shoulders, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London have been feeling all gooey and nostalgic, and snuck in a few first-movie-treats to jog our memories better than a Remembrall ever could. With the 10-day event wrapping up today, here’s what happened when we were welcomed back to Hogwarts.
Upon walking into the Great Hall, the same goosebumps of anticipation await us as they did Harry all those years ago. The set has been crystallised in the same magic that greeted Harry, from the dinner tables, to the teachers’ table shadowed with actual floating candles.
It’s fair to say that Harry’s sorting was one of Philosopher’s Stone’s most iconic moments, and to celebrate, the Sorting Hat itself has been brought out, lovingly guarded with rope in case we try to jump in to see if the enigmatic headwear really is sentient. (We still bet it is.) There truly is an air of ‘first day back at school’ about the whole place.
Moments from Harry’s first year are omnipresent: Ollivander’s costume stands in his shop in Diagon Alley, awaiting new students, and I spy a workshop where prop makers from the film series are whittling away.
Ian is currently manning the table. ‘We’re just showing people how we made the sorting stool today, using these barley twist legs,’ he tells me. ‘We’re also making the flute that Hagrid gave to Harry from Philosopher’s Stone, and we still have all the designs. I like to think the inscriptions are ravens over an oak tree.’
In the spirit of the Sorting Hat, I notice quite a lot of people boasting house colours, almost as if they’re fresh from being sorted themselves.
Amanda Lamazec has come all the way from New Jersey to be welcomed back to Hogwarts, so thank heavens she didn’t forget her Gryffindor scarf. Officially sorted through the Sorting Ceremony on Pottermore, Amanda is, naturally, pretty cool about that.
‘I’m totally happy being a Gryffindor, it fits in everything; the courage, doing everything for your friends, and all that. I was so excited I was sorted into Gryffindor. Ever since I was a little kid, and Philosopher’s Stone first came out, I knew this is the world I should have been born into.’
Amanda is definitely not the only flash of red and gold sauntering around the studios today, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few greens lurking in the shadows too. Proud Slytherin Michelle Robert is hanging outside Ollivanders and I couldn’t help but wonder what draws her to this serpentine house.
‘It’s just the appeal of the dark side,’ Michelle explained. ‘It’s far more exciting than being a Gryffindor. I don’t really like them. Everyone wants to be a Gryffindor. I actually stand away from them. Slytherin’s more exciting, plus Snape’s my favourite character.’
Yep, definitely a Slytherin. House rivalry aside, the memories of Philosopher’s Stone continue to bewitch us, including a particularly magic moment greeting us outside the Hogwarts Express: Harry’s very own original broken glasses now proudly on display next to mannequins of himself and Ron first meeting.
And you may think it’s weird to get emotional over a pair of battered specs – but the fact it’s been 15 years since we first saw Ron gawp at Harry’s scar in that carriage is quite something. It definitely warrants a swig of Butterbeer to toast the beginning of all this mayhem. Clink!
The Sorting Hat will be on display in the Great Hall throughout the Philosopher’s Stone fifteenth anniversary celebrations at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London this year.