I think one of my first childhood idols (besides Hannah Montana) was Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. I not only have her curly hair, but I was always the brightest one in the class — maybe too smart for my own good. I’ve just recently taken the Pottermore quiz to see which Hogwarts house I belong to, and discovered that I’m part of the Gryffindor House. I was shocked to discover this, but it made sense. I’m always confident to go in my own direction, brave enough to stand up for others when they cannot speak themselves, and always look for every opportunity to improve myself and the world around me. Sounds like Hermione, am I right?
I’ve always looked up to her, and since the Harry Potter world is centered in London, I get to live and breathe the same air they did while filming the saga. I’ve traveled to various parts of London which were used in filming the Harry Potter films, including the Millennium Bridge in the Half-Blood Prince, Leadenhall Market used as inspiration for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron, Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station, and the Australia House used as Gringotts!
Since I’ve grown up with J.K. Rowling’s literature, it was an incredible opportunity experiencing the wizarding world at the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Studio in London! AIFS provided an organized trip that allowed students to purchase tickets which included transport to and from the Studio. Quite honestly, it has been the coolest attraction I’ve been to so far!
I loved how interactive everything all the exhibits were. As soon as you enter, you get to see the Great Hall with floating candles and house colors adorned on every facet of the set! I saw nearly every costume, prop, and set designs used in the entire series. Not only did I get to look at these marvels, I became a wizard for a day by riding on a broomstick, and even lifting one up with my bare hands! I also drank my very first Butterbeer. It’s really as creamy and sweet as it looks, and the foamy top was my favorite! Walking through Gringotts Bank was probably the most impressive set in the entire Studio. It was a lot bigger than I imagined.
At the very end of the tour before I wandered through the incredible merchandise shops, I walked around the entire set of the Hogwarts Castle. The spectacular lighting and music directly from the films made it feel like I was inside Rowling’s world. It was so magical that it made me shed a few tears, more so from seeing my childhood fantasy obsessions come to life. My favorite souvenir I bought from the Studio was the coveted time-turner necklace. It cost a pretty pound, but I’ve worn it everywhere across London, and I get compliments from it everywhere I go.
When I was in Verona, Italy, an older man recognized my necklace and complimented it using English as best as he could. It is because of moments like this one, a shared appreciation for pop culture, that made me so emotional at the end of the Studio. While someone could view this as a tourist attraction, it’s so much more than that. My time-turner necklace proves that literature and film can cross many cultures and unify them. I shared a special moment with that Italian man who shared the same fascination towards the fantastic series from wearing a simple yet emblematic object around my neck.
I would highly encourage any and all Harry Potter fans to visit the studio if they’re ever in London! No matter where you go, you’re more than likely to find a Harry Potter fan. No matter how old or young you are, be proud, represent your house wherever you go, and always seek to find opportunities to connect with others!