photos from: Harry Potter - The Exhibition Official Exhibition Guide
My lovely sister bought tickets for her and I to Harry Potter - The Exhibition in Sydney for Christmas. We had tickets for January 11th but only now had time to sit down and write this. I will be honest, I thought it was going to be really lame. I really wasn't excited at all - even when we were lining up to get in. But it was actually a lot better than I expected.
I want to share my experiences with those of you who don't have the opportunity to go or are just interested to know - especially to my Harry Potter friends Leila and Tooma who I will be passing on this link to.
So, let us begin ...
Our tickets were for 1.30pm but it is recommended that you get there 30 minutes beforehand. You're made to wait in one line before moving to another line to get into the HP part of the exhibition. In the second line, you have the option to stand in front of a green backdrop and get your photo taken. I asked the man working there what the background was going to me and he joked that it was a lovely bright green background (bless him!).
After more waiting, you finally get to a black curtain and you and your group (other 1.30ers) are told the rules (no cameras - damn!), no touching anything (boo!) and so forth. After being ushered through the curtain, you're taken to a little room with a "Hogwart's teacher" standing beside a stool with the sorting hat sitting on it. If you're one of the lucky three enough to be chosen, you're asked your name, where your from, how you got here (insert witty banter about coming by broom, dragon, train and so forth here) and what house you'd like to be in. The sorting hat is then placed upon your head and the sorting hat announces you're sorted into whichever house you said you wanted to be in. You're thanked and you sit down again.
The next room you're taken into has five screens and shows you little snippets from all eight movies - just to refresh your memory. Once the lights come on again, a person in robes takes you into the exhibit. You're quickly taken past the Hogwart's Express (I'm pretty sure it's a fake because I don't think they would have transported the front end of the train all the way form England to Sydney - but please, prove me wrong), pictures on the wall - some moving, others still - and into the actual exhibition room.
And then the real excitement begins!
It's hard to really explain the exhibits in words but there are many props and costumes from the movies. A lot of them are in glass boxes but so many are close enough that you want to touch - but fear, in the words of the "Hogwart's student" working there 'the dementors will get you'.
The most interesting things for me where the chance to see all the different wands up close. You don't really get to see a lot of detail in the movies so that was a special treat. You don't actually realise how unique each one of them is. I know they are different woods and lengths but the amount of detail in them is amazing! I wish I could have taken a photo of each of them.
A personal highlight to me was the portrait of my favourite character, Gilderoy Lockhart. I wanted to so much steal it or buy it and put it up in my house. It was amazing. I love it!
Another highlight was the interactive parts of the exhibition. We were able to sit on Hagrid's chair (my sister and I together both lay down in it - it was that big!), pull out mandrakes (they were quite heavy and their screech knocked me out cold lol) and play Quidditch (not on brooms but we did shoot quaffels through the hoops).
Seeing Fawkes up close was AMAZING! I could almost believe that they killed and stuffed a real bird - the details and colours on it were gorgeous! I'm not one to be very afraid of spiders, but seeing Aragog up close was pretty terrifying as was staring into the face of the Hungarian Horntail! Hermione's Yule Ball is all the more breathtaking up close. There was a fan blowing on the dementor's face so his robes were blowing and it looked very realistic and scary - so too was the Angel of Death statue and the Death Eaters masks - and I promise you that not one of the three ever scare me in the movies. On a lighter note, the answers to Lockhart's 'Defence Against the Dark Arts general knowledge test' is very very amusing! *coughit'sallabouthimcough*
I think the most gratifying thing for me was all the details and items that you pay no attention to. For example: wizard money, newspapers, books, details in the clothing, the table display at the Yule Ball etc. You get to see all these things up close and read and study and look over them. I had taken absolutely no notice of the Dragon Egg that Harry retrieves in the first task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament had markings of any kind of it - but it does.
Afterwards, comes the gift shop. Now, I've been to a gift shop or two in my life and this is definitely one of the best! There is just so much you can buy! I contained myself and decided to go for practical gifts such as the official guide (comes with Harry's letter to Hogwarts) and a Ravenclaw scarf - but you could seriously end up spending hundreds of dollars if you're a massive fan. I must admit, I was very tempted to buy a Marauder's Map but couldn't think of what I would do with it so I decided not to. I saw a lot of people buying jellybeans - I walked past a teenage boy who wrinkled up his face and explained to his friends that he thought the jellybean he was eating was grass flavoured.
It's just a shame they weren't selling Lockhart's portrait or I'd have been in trouble :)
After you make your purchases, you finally get to see what your photo looks like. My sister and I bought a copy of our two smiling faces in front of the Great Hall. It's a bit expensive at $19.95 but it is to be expected. If you want to pay more, you can buy a red leather book to keep your photo in. If it hadn't been made of leather, I definitely would have spent the extra money. But I'm happy without it all the same.
Then you're free to look around all the other exhibitions in the museum. My sister and I had a lot of fun in the Wiggles exhibition. As it's for kids, naturally, it's very interactive. My sister made me a paper rose and I sat in the big red car.
I hope I didn't give too much or too little information away. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask :)