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On Saturday August 13th, my nieces and I embarked upon a journey to New York City to see Harry Potter: The Exhibition. The exhibit was very good, and doubly so because of the great discount we got by purchasing our tickets in combination with our Long Island Railroad fares. We were not allowed to take pictures, so I have nothing from which to refresh the memory, and very little to show you besides a few exterior photos I mobile blogged yesterday, which you can find here.
In the beginning, we were admonished that we MUST turn off and put away all cameras, video cameras and cell phones. Then we were ushered into a room where we found Sorting Hat resting upon a stool. A few volunteers were sorted. Volunteers were given the opportunity to state a preference and the Sorting Hat was held over their heads. The Sorting Hat’s voice was then heard, describing the volunteer’s characteristics. The Sorting Hat always put the volunteer in the house of their choice. Surprisingly, not everyone said Gryffindor; we had one of those, but also a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw. Therefore, we got to hear a variety of prognostications from the Sorting Hat, instead of having to listen to him wax poetic over Gryffindor ad nauseum.
After the sorting we were whisked off to another chamber where we were treated to a 5 minute or so video montage from the whole series of films. I admit that I have not bought any of the DVDs (waiting for the inevitable super dooper deluxe box set), so it was actually a treat to see footage from all the way back to the first film.
There were collections of things from the movie sets on display, many with accompanying video to remind you which film and in which scene these things were seen. The collections tended to revolve around a character; for instance, we see Ron Weasley’s trunk and his bed from Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts and there’s a video that shows scenes with Ron in them starting when he was teeny tiny, with all the props you’re looking at in the background.
Further along in the exhibit, guests get to pull mandrakes out of the ground and hear them squeal; actually, they were squealing incessantly the whole time we were in the exhibit, and they sound EXACTLY like the ones at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Universal Orlando Resorts Islands of Adventure theme park.
We also got the opportunity to sit in Hagrid’s huge chair inside his hut and we practiced throwing the quaffle through the goal hoops too.
It was fun to see the sizes of the actors clothing change over the years. For instance, Harry was apparently TINY as a first year in the first film, because his school uniform was really small. And judging from her muggle attire from the more recent films, it’s obvious that Emma Watson is still TINY as an adult. The largest set of Gryffindor robes by far belonged to Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom but the biggest costume overall was Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid outfit. I can’t believe how big it is!
After the tour, of course you’re dumped out into a gift shop. If you thought souvenirs in Orlando were expensive, hold on to your hats. Robes in Orlando were running around $100. However, you pay DOUBLE that at the exhibit, and I am relatively certain that they are the same robes – no French seams or golden threads or anything like that. I do not know why there is such a completely insane 100% markup on the already-pricey robes. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it. Maybe it’s just that you’re standing in Times Square. T-shirts were average ($28-ish and up) as were house-colored ties ($35). Jewelry was for sale – for instance, the time turner and Mr. Lovegood’s pendant in the shape of the Deathly Hallows symbol – but it was all way over-priced for non-precious materials. My nieces contented themselves with a few rubber bracelets and post cards.
I would not pay to see it again, but I’m glad I paid a discounted price to see it once.