While I consider myself a book nerd in the general sense, the Harry Potter books have always held a special little place in my heart. I remember the excitement whenever a new book was released and I also loved seeing how Hollywood brought the stories to life. When I was in Orlando a few years ago, I dragged Maarten along to all the Harry Potter spots in Universal Studios and brought home a wand and a Marauders’ Map. So, when I heard there was going to be a Harry Potter Expo in Utrecht, I had to go. Naturally.
Hello, Hogwarts <3
So, if you are planning to visit the expo yourself and don’t want to know what to expect beforehand, feel free to stop reading here. No hard feelings! I hope you’ll be back and share your own experience in the comments later 😉
For me, the Harry Potter Expo kind of started when I saw the flying Ford Anglia from The Chamber of Secrets standing in Cinemec’s lobby. In the picture on the right you can see yours truly, looking Pretty Excited, and Maarten, looking Less So But Indulgent. Good times!
Before entering the exhibit we had to wait in line for a bit (we went on monday afternoon, so the wait was not too bad) and then entered a room were a guy in robes welcomed us and let a few kids get sorted into their houses. Soon after, we were ushered into the next room where we saw a cinematic introduction (which, to me, was mostly a reminder that I need to rewatch the films soonish) and then walked past the Hogwarts Express into the exhibition.
There were a bunch of themed rooms, ranging from an eerie Forbidden Forest room to a room containing props from Hagrid’s cozy cabin (including his pink umbrella and the Monster Book of Monsters).
There was quite a lot to see, so for the rest of this post I’ll stick to some of my favourite things.
Creatures! And Kreacher. Harhar.
One of the things I liked best about the expo was that there were quite a bunch of creatures around. Sadly, the lighting could be better in some rooms. I almost missed Kreacher lurking behind a set of wizard’s robes and there was a little baby thestral hiding in the shadows of the Forbidden Forest.
Our pal Buckbeak was hard to miss though!
I also enjoyed seeing Dobby (who looked like he had seen Unimaginable Things, which kind of makes sense, I suppose) and Fawkes the Phoenix (who was missing a toe but did not seem too bothered).
Cool graphic design (and a lot of Lockhart)
Another thing I enjoyed seeing immensely was the graphic design on book covers, magazines and posters they used in the films. In the films they usually rush past most of these, but during the expo you could really see the amount of effort that had gone into each and every bit.
Some of my favourites were the Gilderoy Lockhart books, adorned with Kenneth Branagh’s theatrical smirks:
And then there was this amazingly ridiculous painting within a painting (and a bonus Cornish Pixie) :
All in all…
All in all it was a lot of fun to see all these props and designs up close. There were also a ton of costumes (dress robes, Quidditch outfits, etcetera) and other props, but I could just keep rambling on and on.
So. Were there any downsides? Well, I guess there always are. To be honest, I did think the entry fee a tad steep for the size of the exhibition and the items in the gift shop were quite expensive as well. As mentioned above, the lighting could have been better in places. I understand the need to create an atmosphere, but this way some of the creatures / items on display did not get the attention they deserve.
But I guess that if you are a Potter-fan like me, you won’t care very much and just enjoy the Harry Potter Expo anyway 😀
You can visit the expo at the Cinemec in Utrecht until the 30th of June.