London…so much to do, so little time, amiright?
So we had to set a plan of action. Let’s put the most important things we have to do in London at the top of the list.
#1: Harry Potter Walking Tour.
So that settles it! We’re going on a Harry Potter Walking Tour!
But the tour doesn’t start until 3 pm. What do we do until then? Platform 9 and 3/4!
This conversation never happened between Doris and I, but it very well could have. And to be honest, I’m not sure which person is me in this imaginary conversation.
Platform 9 and 3/4: Check.
Abbey Road and Abbey Road Studio: Sort of check.
While Doris did manage to get her shoes off to play Paul, the rest of the shot sort of fell to pieces. For one thing, one of the two strangers we roped into the picture to play Ringo and George is barely visible. Second, I’m looking back to see where the hell the silly girl with my cell phone is standing. She should have taken the shot from the middle of the road. Instead, she was practically at the curb. Then our photo was rushed because of traffic. In the end, though, I actually like the shot. Its utter imperfection and failure is perfect. Doris probably doesn’t agree with me.
She felt a lot better after we did some shopping, though.
Next up: Harry Potter tour!
I’m going to give a free shout out here to Strawberry Walking Tours because they were pivotal to our entire stay in London. We did three awesome walking tours in three days. All of their tours are pay-what-you-want. The first of the three, of course, was the Harry Potter tour.
We lucked out on our tour because our guide just happened to be Ben, an aspiring actor, and more importantly, Draco Malfoy’s double in the first Harry Potter movie. Of course, he could’ve been making that up to impress us and get us to pay more at the end of the tour, but he seemed pretty convincing. And he showed us visual evidence at the end of the tour–photos from the set of the first Potter movie.
I had three particular favourite bits of trivia. The first was when he stopped beside a bookshop that featured a book somewhat recently autographed by the movie’s three main stars. He then pulled out a piece of paper that showed their autographs from their first movie shoot. They were adorably much less legible.
Doris knew the second bit, but I found it utterly amazing. Apparently at the end of the shoot of the first movie, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson all wrote messages of appreciation to the director. Their messages all perfectly reflected the characters they played in the series. Grint’s response was quick and to the point; it was something to the effect of, “Thanks for casting me, mate!” Potter’s was simple, but illuminating: “I’m glad I went to the opera.” Apparently his parents took him out to the theatre one day, and while there, a family friend mentioned that they were looking to cast somebody in a new movie series. Granger, of course, wrote an essay. I most likely butchered this little anecdote, but the gist of it is there.
My most favourite reveal from the day, though: Tom Felton was the big music guy. Ben had started up a little newspaper of sorts for everybody on set, and young Felton was in charge of music reviews. He wrote a glowing review of Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water. Limp Bizkit was apparently his favourite band at the time. On the last day of shooting, Felton gave Ben a parting gift: An admittedly well-drawn picture of the band. I just find the image of Draco Malfoy moshing to “Nookie” so gut-bustingly hilarious.
Another really cool bit of info was regarding Trafalgar Square. Apparently, the square was Rowling’s inspiration for the Deathly Hollows symbol. When seen from above, it totally makes sense. Take a look!
I mean, sure, it could be a total coincidence/conspiracy theory, but I totally bought into it. Ben explained that the square is pretty much the heart of the city. It’s a place of community gathers and political demonstrations. The second Deathly Hollows film premiered there in front of a massive crowd as a gift and a thank you to the people of London. Why not make the most powerful symbol represent the people of London? Knowing the struggles that Rowling went through before the start of the career, it makes perfect sense. It’s a gesture of empowerment.
Anywho, there were a lot more really cool fun facts shared on the tour, but those were some of my favourites.
We met up with Lucia, a friend I met in Abu Dhabi, and our host in London, at a pub near her place. This is where Doris snapped these awesome shots of Jake the Dog from Adventure Time.