The Real Reason We Went to Berlin
I mean, Berlin is nice and all, but the only reason we went there was for Harry Potter. The Harry Potter Film Exhibition has been touring the world for about 10 years, displaying costumes and props from the films and immersing visitors into the pages of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy world. I had to move to Europe to see it.
We took the train from Berlin to Potsdam for the Harry Potter Film Exhibition. Tickets and audio guides in hand, we joined a mass of German fans and flooded the exhibit, transported to Platform 9 ¾ , the Great Hall, Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut, and the Forbidden forest.
The exhibit opens with a sorting ceremony, with volunteers chosen from the audience. Afterwards, double doors open into a large room paneled with screens playing scenes from the films. With “Hedwig’s Theme” playing, we get a glimpse at the characters throughout the films, smiling and reminiscing, getting goosebumps remembering waiting in line at midnight for book releases and movie premieres. As nerdy as it might sound, it felt good to be back among friends.
A train whistle sounded and doors opened to reveal the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmead, leading us into the castle where more exhibits awaited.
I quickly realized that I didn’t need the audio guide because I already knew all the info. I abandoned my player and spent my time putting my nose way too close to the props and practically balancing half my body over the barriers to see the costumes as close as possible (the detail is insane!).
Props to the Prop Dept.
It’s one thing to see a film and applaud the artistry that goes into it, especially when the film is set in a fantasy world. But the props used to create Harry Potter and bring these books to life are simply, well, magical. The amount of work and detail that goes into making a simple prop book or a crystal ball (rubber) is true artistry and craftsmanship.
One of my favorite parts were the mini sets strewn through the exhibit. Using costumes, backdrops and props, visitors found themselves at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, dancing at the Yule Ball, in detention with Dolores Umbridge, and placing your bets at the Quidditch World Cup. Much like the props, the costumes were highly detailed, with pinstriping and stitching that I never noticed in the umpteenth times I had seen the films.
I had no idea that Snape’s costume was navy. I always thought he was in black!
The Wizarding World
The exhibit also featured a few costumes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. The Cursed Child is coming to Germany in Spring 2020, where it will begin shows–in German.
Until another midnight movie release or book launch (fingers crossed for Hogwarts, a History), I’ll continue re-reading and re-watching, making no noise and pretending I don’t exist.