Harry Potter: Film Vault: Volume 12: Celebrations, Food, and Publications of the Wizarding World
After the Hogwarts Sorting Ceremony for first-year students in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, where Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is Sorted into Gryffindor house, the entire school is treated to a feast that includes racks of lamb, bowls of corn on the cob, and myriad roasted fowl. Meals in the Great Hall were elaborate affairs for the hungry students, often featuring luscious-looking desserts and mouth-watering refreshments. In addition to cereals and drinks, meats and sweets, magical menus for Halloween holiday banquets, Yule season celebrations, and the wedding of Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy) and Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 were provided by Stephenie McMillan’s set decoration department and Pierre Bohanna’s props department. Outside the walls of Hogwarts, wizarding pubs and homes served food and drink; labels for homemade jams, crisps, and Butterbeer were created by the graphics department overseen by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. The foods seen on-screen are sometimes real and sometimes not. “Over the course of the films, there [were] some incredible scenes,” says Alfred Enoch, who plays Gryffindor Dean Thomas, “but something that always struck me was the food. We’d walk into the Great Hall every year to see incredible meals and desserts and then were told we couldn’t eat any! When we’d ask why, they’d tell us it’s not real. And that got me every time,” he adds with a laugh. “They did such a good job, it’s inspiring.”
Feasting and publishing might seem to be disparate subjects, but there was certainly food for thought in the newspapers and magazines of the wizarding world. The Daily Prophet newspaper was an important part of the story, illustrating the takeover of the wizarding society by Voldemort. Much thought was given to artistically representing how the darkness manifested itself: Early issues of The Daily Prophet contained imaginative text layouts and gold lettering in a variety of fonts. As the danger increased, the newspaper’s look became ominous, with paragraphs set in regimented rows of black block letters. Fortunately, The Quibbler, an alternative publication, provided literally colorful commentary and support for Harry Potter on the twenty-five thousand pages of it printed for the films. Textbooks for Hogwarts students were of prime importance, and Mina and Lima showcased bookmaking skills from across the ages in the covers and spines they created. Paper textures and color palettes were determined that would indicate quickly on camera whether a book was expensive or cheap, old or new. Multiple copies of each book were required, and some needed to be made to serve different uses. The Monster Book of Monsters, which harasses Harry when he tries to open it in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, had two mechanical versions—one that was maneuvered around by a blue-screen pole (removed in postproduction), and another that could fire out shreds of paper from its open pages.
Producer David Heyman stresses that while the goal of creating the world of the Harry Potter films was for them to be fantastical and magical, “we wanted to root everything in a reality,” he explains. “We wanted viewers to have a reference through which they could look at and feel, oh, this is familiar, but it’s tweaked just a tiny bit.” Heyman credits achieving this goal to the collaborative nature of the different creative departments. “Everybody was really ambitious for their craft and wanted to make the very best work they could. We always tried to make each film better than the last. “[Harry Potter] is not just a British phenomenon or an American phenomenon,” he continues, “it’s something that touches people from all cultures and all parts of the world. We were given the opportunity to make these films because J. K. Rowling wrote the books and Warner Bros. supported us through all the years. But Warner wouldn’t be so generous in their support were it not for the enthusiasm of the fans and their interest and desire to keep coming to these films to have a new and different Potter experience each time. The fans are everything. We wouldn’t be here without them
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|August 30, 2021|
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