For those of you who are familiar with the term, this is the Hogwarts motto. It means “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”. I’m sure that by now you will start wondering what this phrase has to do with anything, never mind my blog. The answer is simple: it is connected with the Harry Potter tour I got to go to last week. From Leicester square to the Palace Theatre, this was a tour full of trivia, interesting facts and places of importance within the Potterverse.
From the first second of the tour, I got the impression that it caters to the hardcore fans of the films and books. Sure there were people who went simply for the tour (I hope), but the huge majority, they were actual fans. I guess it just makes sense! You wouldn’t go for a Beatles tour, if you don’t have an interest about Beatles for example. And yes, this tour exists and I will be happy to tell you all about it, as soon as I book a place and the weather is better! After all, it’s snowing again in London!
So, we started from Leicester Square and then walked to Piccadilly Circus, where some shots were taken for the Deathly Hallows scenes in the films. From Piccadilly Circus we went on to Trafalgar Square, where the last film was screened live there, back in 2011. Boy, that makes me feel soooo old; just to think that the last Harry Potter film was released 7 years ago! Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Can you believe that we celebrated 20 years of Harry Potter in 2017? Oh, dear! While there, we also learned that Daniel Radcliffe is one of the youngest people, whose portrait can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. Such a great honour for the 28-year-old actor! On the south side of Trafalgar Square, you can also find the equestrian statue of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649, and who inspired J.K. Rowling in creating Nearly Headless Nick.
From Trafalgar Square, we walked towards Whitehall, the governmental centre of London, and the place of the Ministry of Magic. While Cornelius Fudge was not there to welcome us, we still had a lovely time there! And despite the fact that during the week it is a hub of activity, during the week, it is calmer and we could easily walk in the vicinity. This is probably a reason why the Queen herself gave a special permission for the filming to take place there and for some roads to close.
After Whitehall, the tour moved to the inspiration behind Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley and learned why Ollivanter’s name is Garrick (RIP, John Hurt) . I will not spoil them for you, as you will need to visit them and see how and why Rowling was inspired by them. And while this tour is just a little taste of what Harry Potter is really about, because you can always visit Christ Church in Oxford or the Warner Bros studio, for the Harry Potter tour, it still sheds a light on what Harry Potter is for the British culture. It is not only a very successful book and film franchise, or a source of lucrative memorabilia; it is a cultural reference for modern Britain.
I would like to say a huge thank you to our lovely guide, Amy, from Strawberry Tours London. She did a fantastic job, and no I’m not saying that because the Gryffindor team I was part of won. It was a fascinating tour, with the 10% of the proceeds going to charity. The big plus? It’s on twice a day, every day and it’s absolutely free! In the future, I will be sure to check out the Soho Walking Tour with JJ!
A simple way to make the most of the city you are visiting or living, Strawberry Tours London
If you want to know more about the making of Harry Potter, visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour