A huge new installation, as part of the City of London Arts Initiative for public art, has just opened in London – entitled Fantastic Beasts: Wizarding World Wands supporting Lumos.
The exciting new creation involves a grand line of nine iconic wands from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, from the Elder Wand to Newt Scamander’s.
To celebrate the big opening of the installation, a live performance from the Grenadier Guards took place – performing classic Wizarding World tracks, from Hedwig’s Theme to newer tracks from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
If things couldn’t get any more wand-erful (sorry) two men who helped create the magic of the wands in the films appeared at the event too: head prop maker Pierre Bohanna, who has created numerous iconic wands for both Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter, and Paul Harris – leading choreographer for the combat sequences in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Indeed, Paul even gave Pierre a little wand choreography lesson on the red carpet.
‘I love Pierre, we’ve done a lot together,’ Paul said. ‘I lost my wand recently that I’ve had since Order of the Phoenix and I’m gutted – so I bought a dowel and we got a new one made, and Pierre was like, ‘ooh we have to paint that’. So now I’m getting my own back – to teach him to move!’
And if you fancy doing a bit of wand choreography at home – Paul recommends using something sprightly.
‘I like the wand to be quite light – and I’m always banging on about the swish and flick, it’s important that I get my swish and flick!’
Pierre, the man behind the wand designs, loved seeing his wands brought to life outside St Paul’s Cathedral – but couldn’t commit to a favourite.
‘I don’t have a favourite, they’re exactly like children!’ he laughed. ’But it’s an interesting range of wands, actually – real classics from the original series and then Fantastic Beasts. And all the wands are character-based. I love the story of the Elder Wand – I love the fact that when we made it, we didn’t know it was the Elder Wand and didn’t realise the relevance of it, but now I think it holds up really, really well.’
And what if Pierre could have his own wand, we wondered?
‘It’s about practicality, [I’d have] something a bit like Newt’s – no need to show off too much!’
You heard it from the wand experts first – it’s all about the practicality.
There's certainly one man who knows all about these wands, the man who made them! (Disclaimer: not Ollivander - though he's not far off!) It's Pierre Bohanna: Prop Modeller for the @HarryPotterFilm and @FantasticBeasts movies. pic.twitter.com/9gtULpKVE8— Pottermore (@pottermore) October 18, 2018
The fans were also out in force to commemorate the new appearance of the wands, with some lucky ones winning tickets to the grand premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We caught up with Jessica, a huge fan, from Brazil – fresh from winning her ticket!
‘We camped out and it was so worth it,’ she told us. ‘I’m losing my mind because Harry Potter has saved my life so many times. I can’t even put it into words. This is the best moment of my life.’
So, London certainly just got a little more magical. And it wasn’t just the wands that did it.
Fantastic Beasts: Wizarding World Wands supporting Lumos will be displayed outside St Paul’s Cathedral from today running up to 13 November. Every evening at 6.45pm, the wands will perform a short light display every 30 minutes. Get down, if you can!
For more details on more activities happening at the wand installation, check the Fantastic Beasts official website.
To support Lumos, and your love of wands, why not get yourself an exclusive Newt Scamander pin badge? Part of the proceeds will go to Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s charity that helps orphaned children reunite with their families.