Published on Dec 6th 2019
The team at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter have shared some Christmassy Great Hall secrets. Let’s join them behind-the-scenes of their Hogwarts in the Snow feature for some festive details you may have missed…

House representation

Professor McGonagall told Harry and his classmates on his arrival at Hogwarts: ‘your house will be something like your family’. For the films, the Art Department, Props Team and Set Decorators wanted to reflect house colours in the decorations for Christmastide – the time of year most commonly spent with loved ones.

House representation details you may have missed include snowmen on cakes wearing house scarves, sweet pots and student presents wrapped with house colours, as well as crackers with an individual house design.
House pride is strong as ever in the Great Hall during the festive makeover of the sets for Hogwarts in the Snow.


Magical attention to detail

Those of you channelling a Ravenclaw’s thirst for knowledge will be delighted to find out there’s more detail than just House representation in the Great Hall.

The garlands on every panel are the actual garlands used during filming, with some fresh ivy added we’re sure Professor Sprout would approve of.
The Christmas puddings are rigged by the Special Effects department to produce real flames. Unfortunately, they are about as inedible as Hagrid’s rock cakes since they’re made of concrete and steel leaves to withstand the high heat.


Fabulous filming facts

Did you know that during the filming of the first Harry Potter, real food was cooked and served fresh every day on set? Unfortunately, it didn’t keep well and by the end of a long day’s filming, it looked a little like the spread at Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Party. After the first film therefore, the ever-creative Props Team solved this problem by making replica feast food themselves. We hope the cast remembered the change: even the peas were metal ball bearings sprayed green!

And do you remember the malevolent beings circling the top of the Christmas trees? The SFX Team led by Oscar-winning John Richardson added them in an inspired decorative mood. Out-Hermione all your friends by telling them the magical beings are actually fairies, not witches.


Yule be surprised to know

The Great Hall also boasted additions for the special Yule Ball celebration that happened in Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts.

‘Ah, music,’ he said, wiping his eyes. ‘A magic beyond all we do here!’

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Albus Dumbledore certainly would have approved of Professor Flitwick’s orchestra being set out for the Yule Ball set. It included all the original musical instruments from the fourth film, as well as velvet coloured chairs and music stands.

Did you recognise the shape of the ice sculpture centrepiece on the Yule Ball table? It was actually based on the Brighton Pavilion! And there was no rest for the Props Team when it came to creating a wintery feel… All the flaming torches in the Yule Ball were painted to look like ice, and the icicles were all hand-made in resin.


An enormous cauldron of thanks to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for sharing these seasonal secrets!

For more information or to book your tickets in advance, you can head over to their website.