Those few unsuspecting visitors to Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure who had not heard that the company spent more than $265 million to bring the world of “Harry Potter” to life might be a little surprised to find a Scottish castle rising in the middle of the park.
Daniel Radcliffe, who has played the title character in the films for about half his life, isn’t entirely concerned by the incongruity of the snow covering the surrounding village of Hogsmeade that does not melt in the 90 degree Florida weather. But he was excited to share how real the Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience felt to him.
“It does look like 700 feet of rock and castle,” he marveled as he gave MTV News a tour of Hogwarts. “What’s amazing about this place in general — not just the ride but the place overall — is that it is actually more complete than the film sets. Because, you know, you go in the Great Hall, and you go outside and you see it is actually made of wood and scaffold. As Tom Felton said, he’s expecting to see a big green screen at any moment, whereas here it is all just here, and it is kind of amazing.”
Most of the guests entering the castle, for the ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, will continue travelling along the line to the left to get a chance to see the Mirror of Erised, Professor Sprout’s greenhouse and the gargoyle statue that guards the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. But Radcliffe took us up the express entrance to get to some of Forbidden Journey’s most exciting rooms even quicker.
He guided MTV first through the portrait gallery, which contains the talking portraits of the four founders of Hogwarts, as well as some special additions. One painting in particular was modeled after the main production designer for all the “Potter” films, Stuart Craig. Radcliffe said many of the crew, and also his father, made it into the paintings used in the movies.
Radcliffe concluded the tour in Dumbledore’s office, where the professor will greet guests through the magic of technology, not wizardry. It is one of the locations the actor was most excited about as he pointed out the Pensieve, a magical object that allows wizards to delve into memories, in the corner.
Radcliffe himself was flooded with memories while standing there. The room most reminded him of the end of “Chamber of Secrets,” in the scene with Richard Harris’ Dumbledore and Jason Isaacs’ Lucius Malfoy. But he also said that the office plays a part in a scene audiences have yet to see.
“One of the key scenes in the series happens in this room, where towards the end of ['Deathly Hallows'], Harry learns something about Snape’s past in relation to him, and that takes place in this room. In fact, actually, it takes place pretty much here,” he said, motioning to where he was standing. “And that is kind of pretty much possibly the key scene in the series, you might say. There’s a certain argument for that.”
But none of the darkness from that scene, when Snape’s true nature is revealed, or any others makes its way into the happy Wizarding World. And Radcliffe said he’d contemplate bringing his children there one day to revisit the place he inhabited for so long.
“Then it would be a real, real nostalgia trip to come back here,” he said.
Which room from “Harry Potter” would you most like to see re-created in real life? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.”
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